Horsey Beach Day!

I am so, so happy that Mr. Oats is back in action. I can’t even believe how frightening and stressful the past few weeks have been, for me and him 😦 His cough subsided by Friday, and I zipped out to the barn to test him out. All clear!

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Ok so Oats looks a little unimpressed…But I was so happy!!

The only thing I was MAJORLY angry about was when I finished up with Oats and was putting him back in his pen, I moved his haynet and got stabbed with thorns. WTF? I pushed him away to investigate, and saw that to my absolute horror, his hay was FULL of  blackberry thorns. All weaved into the hay. For a horse just recovering from life-threatening choke and a horrible cough. I was seeing RED.

I put Oats into the barn’s crossties and pulled apart his hay. It was EVERYWHERE.

I pulled the flakes apart, and removed all of the blackberry thorns. I then texted the barn manager to let her know, and let the feeders know that if he eats blackberry thorns, he could die. This is serious.

But on a happier note, I caught it when I was there- weird because I’m not even usually at the barn on Fridays, but I couldn’t wait to see how his cough was. Good timing??

I do still feel angry that potentially his choke was caused by the shitty hay with blackberry thorns in it. Like, what the everloving hell?

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Anyways…I had to cancel my dressage show because his cough was so nasty, but my friend suggested we try a beach ride instead? And so on Sunday, that’s exactly what we did! And I had BLAST!!!! Oats was a little freaked out but settled well (deep sand will do that, ha. It tired them right out). I am so lucky to have another chance with old Oaty.

Life is showing me to take any opportunity. There may not be a second chance.

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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.

Rust buster for real: Prairie Inn Harriers 8k race recap

First off, thanks to the volunteers and race organizers. This is a VERY smoothly run race, and I absolutely loved the post-race food options (great soup, hot dogs! pizza?! wow!!). A super effort by all involved and made my recovery that much more fun.

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7th place!! Photo is courtesy of the Prairie Inn Harriers.

Now for the race recap: Wow, this was a lot harder than I felt it should have been, and it was 100% my fault- I went out FAST in the beginning (first downhill km at 3:55? No way can I run that fast, and I was just getting caught up and silly). It was then a strugglefest for the rest of the race, thanks to my poor planning.

My next km was still very fast for me- 4:16. Then I dropped rapidly and started losing my will to live…

4:46, 4:35, 4:39…eeeeek.

Basically my race was a textbook example of poor pacing efforts, combined with another perfect positive split. So, don’t do what I did- ha. I honestly felt like I would have paid someone to let me quit midway through, it felt that rough.

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Well deserved (until I fell off Oats shortly after).

I wanted to puke, pass out and collapse. I had the distinct pleasure of getting passed right left and centre all throughout the race, which made it tough to ‘run my race’ instead of feeling like I was getting caught up and passed constantly. The ‘hurry scurry’ feeling just never left and I couldn’t achieve that ‘flow’ that I try to during races.

Maybe it’s because I’m out of practice for taking a few months off racing, and the 8k, while a fine distance, is just not my distance.

It was a very chilly day and it actually started snowing like crazy when we finished. Thank god we missed that though- a stroke of good luck. I was happy with my time (36:06 net, 36:11 gun time) which is a slight improvement from last year (36:20), but I do still feel like if I ran a better, more competent race I would have fared wayyyy better. hahah.

At the finish, I wasn’t sprinting, I was struggling. I was huffing and puffing and trying to catch my breath, reeling and staggering at the end. I sat down on a retaining wall and felt dizzy. Yuck!

I was coughing heavily for the rest of the day, thanks to my incompetent lungs being slightly damaged- yuck again.

With my time I received 7th place AG, which is fine for a fairly competitive race.

And after the run, my husband and I enjoyed a very nice beer taster at Category 12, which is nearby, and then we headed to the barn so I could get a quick ride in on Oats. He spooked during my ride, and I promptly tumbled off. Not my day I guess? I was fine, landed on my feet and hopped back on and continued but yeeesh, I guess I was just tired, and not ‘with it’ haha.

Oh well, a lesson to learn for that day.

I am stiff as heck today though!

 

 

 

Not with a bang but a whimper

OUCH.

Me this week.

Me this week.

This week, as I have been dreading it all weekend, is off to a smashing start…

Let’s see- work is insan-o, Oats still has his cough (our session with our equine counselor went ok yesterday but he felt kind of ‘blah’ still…) and today, during a particularly sweaty treadmill sprint, I hurt my calf and pulled/strained a muscle just to the right of my calf.

EFFFF this!

So, I have a riding lesson tonight that now contains two interesting variables: Oats with his annoying cough-root-cough behaviour, and now I can’t quite walk well, or put a lot of weight on my right leg, particularly flexing my toe up. Which is how it stays in the stirrups, and me on the horse.

100% recipe for success right???? Right??

I kind of feel like I brought this on myself though. I was pissed off this morning, went feeling full of ‘angry’ energy to the treadmill and was coughing (yes, allergies are still trying to kill me) and distracted on the treadmill and then BANG…my leg goes, not even half way through my workout.

Maybe I’ve been getting too ambitious about the incline and speed. Time I have been controlling, keeping it at 25 minutes as per my knee doctor’s request. Funny, when he said to not increase it past 30 minutes because I wasn’t strong enough, I was like what is he talking about?

Now, sadly, I do know. And it hurts.

Gait retraining is a slower process than I realized. And apparently, more of a painful exercise too.

Everyday

Everyday

Race recap: My first 5k at Bazan Bay.

Yes, funny enough I’d never raced a 5k- ever! Went straight to 10ks (honestly, because my work was paying for it one year and so I decided to give it a try and was kind of hooked), but never the 5ks.

Beautiful day to run

Beautiful day to run

This year though, has been a year of trying new distances. So far I’ve done a fun 8k, a good 10k, and a brutal 8k. Now to conquer the 5k. Sort of…As I was complaining about vigorously earlier last week, I have a head cold that seems bound and determined to ruin my life, I’m still coughing up grossness, sinus pain, weird pressure in my ears that makes me feel like I’m living in an echo chamber, incredible fatigue, joint pain…You get the idea.

So, ideal for a faster race, right?

Not so much. Nevertheless, I was aiming for a good time- 22 minutes I figured was doable.

I was still coughing and the pressure in my ears was driving me NUTS but oh well! Off to the start we went, and some girls shoved in front of me (rudely) but hey we’re all friends here…I just didn’t love the ‘bro-talk’ that they had going on. Posturing and stuff- leave it to your own brain, thanks. I don’t need you going ‘I’m gonna PB this one!’ or ‘I’m gonna crush it!’ or, looking pissed off, ‘Can you get OVER this?’ Which I kind of figured they were less than impressed at having to shove past ‘slow folk’ to get where they were in the lineup…Hello, I passed them like 1km in, jeesh…

The only time I'm taller than Ian

The only time I’m taller than Ian

Anyways, the start was SLOW. UGH. I rebounded off about 3 people accidentally because they just weren’t picking up the pace at all. Got my stride, and coincidentally had this song playing in my brain the whole time, just to keep me motivated: Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride.

Feeling good up to 3k, and then at the turnaround I started losing my good feelings, and started feeling like I was going to cough up a lung, or maybe have a heart attack, or maybe just collapse instead.

I passed a few people, but just never felt like I could get into the slower rhythm speed that I had in my longer races, it just felt a bit too frantic, too fast. So, I’m learning that the 5k is a tougher race for me, because I can’t seem to push it for that long. I get tired, coughing, and lose my mojo.

I didn’t really finish that strong (more like a crawl) with a time of 22:26 (chip) 22:17 (net). So I didn’t quite achieve my goal, which is a bit of a bummer. Oh well! Better luck (and health!) next time.

Bazan Bay gets thumbs-up for a great bathroom situation and a decent snack table, but they didn’t have chili or hotdogs (that I LOVE!).  And a shout-out to my husband, who raced in the top-10 again, and my friend, who definitely kicked my butt too.