A mountain with no ending: My first track race!

So, this weekend wasn’t all gloom and doom- despite what my previous blog post was griping about. My running was actually really neat! This year, adding to the theme of ‘getting outside my comfort zone’ I decided to be brave and sign up for a local amateur-friendly track series. This race ended up being on Saturday, the same day as my horrible horse show. Bad timing or what?

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My version of hauling ass at the track.

I did it anyways!

This is the track series: The Christie-Phoenix Victoria Run Series– super bare-bones, but really well run!  I was very intimidated when I got to the track–all these people looked super intense, elite athletes, and there’s me…the running schlub.

I bought the series run package- a steal of a deal at $65 for the season. That gets me three track events, and some local x-c running too. That meant that at the track, I can sign up for any or all of the track races. Saturday offered three distances: 1,500m, 800m, and 3,000m. I hemmed and hawed about trying the distances and decided on entering two: 1,500m and 3,000m.

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The 3,000m.

If there are enough elite athletes, they offer two or more heats per event. That meant the 3,000m and 800m races had two heats- actually the 800m had three! (Not that I was running in it). This is primarily due to safety on the track. I overheard the race officials talking about it and they said something about 14 racers being ok but not more than that.

My 1,500m race had 1 elite racer and the rest of us amateurs- about 14 runners total. I was sooooo nervous…there was a start gun and everything!! I lined up far away from the other runners, and I think there was even a false start when the gun went off (it was fine though). I was running soooo fast, my arms felt numb! I was blasting away and man it was tough!~

Turns out my ‘fastest km ever’ is not really that fast, but wow it was hard for me. I ran it at 3:48/km. Running 1,500m means going around the track 4 times. Running 3,000m means going around the track EIGHT times. That is a lot of time around the track!

I even got second female in my 1,500m race–whoop!!!! (there were not a lot of women racing in ‘amateur slow people’ category, trust me on this.) Still, I was very excited and proud. I’m doing it- running on a track! I was soooo out of breath too, holy shit, it is HARD on your lungs. I immediately wanted to quit, but Ian suggested I take a break and catch my breath, and then think about keeping going in the 3,000m.

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Two second places!

And I’m glad I did–because it went really well too! I was able to ‘settle’ much faster, and get comfortable for my eight laps around the track. They ring a bell when you are on your last lap and it is a very inspiring sound. 🙂 I even got second in my 3,000m race too! What a way to end a seriously disappointing horse show day, by getting some redemption in a race.

Track racing is wildly out of my comfort zone but you know what? I went out and gave it my all–and I’m glad I did! Well run, inspiring to watch the elites (they are stunning!), and just plain ballsy to run on a track.

Fail Friday- courtesy of my jump lesson?

Well, when I write ‘Fail’ I really mean- we did it, and it wasn’t perfect or pretty.

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I am learning how to take screenshots! Still in the indoor though. Proof that we jump oxers, haha. Yesterday was a bit higher I believe?

We were back to doing small courses, and the jumps got up to 2’6”, and the wheels kind of fell off for Oats and I. I started doing things with my hands (pulling him up over the jump, leaning, chasing, arghh) and he started doing his thing- trying to jump from a standstill- the ultimate chip.

BUT here’s where it changes- this would normally be like, IT for me. Some ugly jumps at the peak of our height, ability-wise? Noooo way. And an oxer at 2’6”? Extra nooo way. But you know what? It was ok. I kind of mentally kicked myself- this was the last course and we’d actually been doing really nicely- and on we went!

Sure the oxer rode really weird pretty much every time- a big LAUNCH courtesy of  Air Oats, but after we landed (in kind of a heap), I picked up the reins, and just kept riding. I even re-approached the oxer, mistakenly thinking I could ride it better the second time – newsflash- not really! And kept trying.

We had 1 stop- it was at a vertical and I just wasn’t organized enough to support Oats properly. My fault, and it wasn’t a nasty stop, it was just heyyyy we’re doing what now?

Sorry Oats!

We even did the double-stacked haybales again, which Oats seems to regard as a type of brush jump that he can like, skim his legs barely over??? Ha silly pony. He did the two-stride (set at 2’3” thank god) lovely every time. He is  excellent at combinations, goes on total autopilot and just motors through them. I even got a really interesting feeling of ‘kickback’ from him when he was powering through. It felt great!

The rest of the course- not so great. I keep trying though, and I know I can do it.

The difference between the past and now? I make mistakes. I’m allowed to make them. I learn from them, and I move on.

 

Burn your fires for no witness

Jump lesson update!

I didn’t update after my schooling hack on Tuesday because it was non-remarkable–Oats was being a good pony, we did some lateral work to limited success, and well, it was fine. Yesterday I had my jump lesson and something interesting is starting to dawn on me…

As I get better about my anxiety, and am learning to manage it and appropriately stretch my boundaries, I’m coming up against something my equine counselor warned me about: frustration. She said with learning comes frustration or being mad about something and that is just the way it is expressed, as part of the process.

I’m coming in to my lesson with Oats, not being frustrated at him, but being frustrated by our ‘pace’?!! And it never really bothered me before, and I think it is close to 100% in my head? For example…

We worked over a small gymnastic and then moved on to a little course. The gymnastic was a two-stride x-rail to vertical. Nicole moved it in because quite often Oats is backed off and not super forward through the lines, and if horses were jumping it before us, then it’s set too long.

Well! We worked through it, I complained that he felt too slow and she said he was eating up the lines, and she had to move the jumps back??? He was making the horse strides through the gymnastic, which pretty much never happens, and I was complaining that he felt too slow? What is going on in my brain??

Very interesting. The course itself went well and funny enough so did the gymnastic. Oats did have a few moments of extreme befuddlement over green box (which he has jumped a million times before) but now it was on a circle, in a shadowy part of the arena…So he jumped it like it was 3ft high and 4ft wide? WOAH! He did that every time too! I think he was having trouble ‘seeing’ what he was jumping, so figured that overjumping was the best/safest policy…Poor pony, it was kind of hilarious how confused he was by the box?

Proof Oats has jumped the green box with no drama.

Proof Oats has jumped the green box with no drama.

I did have moments where I was very close to my comfort zone and I let Nicole know, but I think it’s just a phase in my learning process right now. I never felt scared or super worried, just kind of…oomph, let’s GO Oats!

Also- Oats would like to wish everyone a happy Halloween! I think he looks better as a bunny than as the devil, don’t you think?

Oats as 'himself' last year...

Oats as ‘himself’ last year…

Bunny Oats

Bunny Oats