I hope they get it right this time

Apparently pain is a great teacher. I hope it is, because lately all I feel is pain (emotional and physical?).
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My leg feels like a throbbing mass of pain basically everyday. I HATE IT. 

I had an amazing spring and early summer, it felt great! Things were falling into place (I won a small half marathon! Oats and I made our 2’6” debut and it was fantastic!) and was really in this ‘challenge me’ type of mentality that I was getting a lot out of and feeling strong and confident!
Now, it feels like everything that I worked hard for kind of went off the tracks. Oats went suddenly lame before a big horse show I was really looking forward to, and we had to pull out. That same week I tripped running home over a small hose leading to a construction site and face-planted quite dramatically on the pavement. I was ok with no serious injuries, but it scared me, was painful, and took a week or so to heal.
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The last show that went well. I see a lot of things to fix, but I remember having a really fun time and smiling. How do I capture that joy again? 

At the same time I tripped and fell, I unknowingly had developed an overuse injury in my leg and couldn’t run at all. I have now been off for a month, and while I am getting treatment for it, it is a slow process and can expect to be injured for another month at least. I am (or was..) in the middle of training for a fall marathon and now I feel like giving up.
Oats came sound after a few weeks- longer than I thought he would be off, which was anxiety inducing to say the least- (after I healed from my fall) and things just haven’t been very smooth. I feel frustrated and things just don’t feel happy and easy, like they were before everything happened. Our rides are full of tension and while I am taking lessons regularly, we have good moments but on the whole it feels rough, awkward and makes me feel unhappy.
This came to a head this weekend when I had him at a small, no-stress schooling show and he felt AWFUL. Tense, unhappy, distracted and very anxious. We were at the same show a month ago and it was night and day! I have such happy memories of how thrilled I was at the show and I was saying I loved riding him so much I wanted to canter forever, it felt so amazing!! We were actually worried he had an episode of gas colic, he was so out of sorts and acting strangely. Not like Oats at all!
I can’t really ascribe all of his behaviour to me and what I am feeling (mostly frustrated and in pain) he could just be having an off day too, but he does mirror me closely sometimes. Too closely.
I am taking a step back this week and having my friend and competent rider take over my jump lesson so I can watch. All I feel like doing these days is griping and crying about what I can’t do?! I feel like I can’t trust myself or my body to do or know the right things anymore.
When is the next step the right move? Where do I go from here?

In trouble for good: Horse show recap!

It’s been a funny time- I have shown more dressage this past year than in my entire life, and you know what? I have been feeling VERY competent in it (mostly, ha). So when I had my first jumping show in a year, I kind of expected it to go, well? We attended the Cedar Vista Schooling Series jumper show, in the 2’3” match the clock jumper division.

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From a million years ago (2014 actually!). At the Appy Show series. Photo courtesy of Anne-Marie Sorvin.

Well, it went, that’s for sure. But it wasn’t the consistent, competent and thoughtfully-ridden show of my dressage shows past. I still felt very nervous and anxious, and I found it quite difficult to ‘connect’ in with my dear horse. That led to me ‘checking out’ for the first, oh, three jumps on course until we got to jump 4, and I was able to connect back and actually RIDE my pony. That led to some truly sloppy rails. SIGH! And some very backed-off fences.

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At the Appy Show series. Photo courtesy of Anne-Marie Sorvin.

Would I have preferred to click in for jump 1? YES! But was I at least glad I noticed I wasn’t checked in, and was able to do it for jump 4? Also YES! So, win some, lose some.

I’m going through a process here, and it is not as easy as I thought it would be.

Funny I don’t have this in dressage- jumping just has some ‘extra’ in it that leads to my brain hamsters falling off their wheels! I will have to work hard to manage it. I have some ideas to practice tomorrow in my jump lesson, so I am glad that I have a plan that I trust, to work towards.

Also, I had a really fantastic ride in the field the day before the show (Saturday) when I had my husband come and take a video of a small course of 9 fences I strung together. It was just so awesome, flowing, smooth, happy and positive. I wish all my rides could feel that nice! 🙂

Have you tried, trying? Cobble Hill 10k race recap!

Man, this one is hard to write because it kind of caps off whatever weird gloominess I was feeling about racing. It’s hard to be positive (even though there are TONS of things to be positive about!) when all I feel now when I am racing is how hard this is, how much I want to give up, and how shitty my times are given the sheer amount I am struggling.

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And they’re off! I am at the far left.

But, without further ado, my race recap!

Warning: it has a lot of gripes.

First gripe: Pouring effing rain. From the sun-soaked Saturday to a just-soaked Sunday, my husband and I were shocked out of our skins at how crummy the weather was for the race. I thought it was going to be grey out, but how cold and how WET everything was? UGH. Just UGH. I didn’t want to go outside, I didn’t want to stand at the start line, just nothing.

And I was just thinking about me, I wasn’t even thinking about all those poor, hearty volunteers! That is a rough day for them.

And to top it off, I injured by foot in a strange series of events the previous week, and by Saturday could barely walk on it. I jogged to the start line on Sunday with some serious apprehension- I had to jog because walking caused too much pain?! Oh no.

We made it to the front, and huddled under shelter with all of the other freezing, soaked runners. I grumbled about how I might pull off the course.

We started and as per my current ‘losing’ strategy, I blasted off and ran my first two KMs too fast- 4:05 and 4:16/km. That is not a sustainable strategy for me, and I should know better. I get excited, and just blast off! I also do this right now because last week, when I started off slower, I ran even slower and still kept struggling! So, that showed me that even when I start off slower, my body isn’t keeping pace and my breathing/stamina is seriously compromised.

So, start slow= stay slow. Start fast= go slower but still have a buffer? I am struggling, no doubt. And I can’t seem to find the answer.

This would then set the theme of the entire race. Slower, slower and slower. My per km pace dropped drastically between 4-5km, and then kind of hovered for awhile. I was exhausted- no energy. My legs felt like lead, and I couldn’t get my head in the game at all. I got passed a ton.

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Fierce

My foot didn’t bother me greatly until about 8-9km, when we ran on gravel. Then it definitely hurt. But I was kind of beyond trying. I was stuck in a tunnel of pain-misery and I can’t figure out why I am having SUCH a hard time this year. I’m in even better shape than I was last year, so why the physical disappointment?

I just feel like my body is letting me down, and I hate that feeling.

But, because I am proactive- I have a doctor’s appointment this week to try and figure out if there is indeed something physical going on–because I know I’m capable of better.

And I sort of weakly sprinted to the finish line, with a mediocre but not totally pathetic time of 45:54 gun and 45:51 chip time. So, I am back in the 45’s but just barely. Last year I was able to run a 45:23 and I actually felt way better. So, wtf is going on this year?

The food was fantastic, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere. No ribbons for me this year, as I  placed 11th (boo just missed 10th!) but my husband placed 7th in his category with an absolutely smoking time- sub 40. WOW.

And I am limping this week, as my foot is now swollen and close to being unwalkable. Joy of joys…

Comparison is the thief of joy- Theodore Roosevelt

I saw this today, and it struck a chord with me. It’s true.

I find myself comparing my activities to my friends, my job to other people’s jobs who are BETTER and my riding to others who are doing better- heck, even to myself in the summer, or in the past. Why am I not like that now? I can’t help but compare, and it makes me jealous, mean and petty.

Blast from the past: Wynbrook Denver

Blast from the past: Me and Wynbrook Denver. Funny, he looks like Oats!

I get bummed out about my knee bothering me so I can’t finish the runs I start. I would like to be hampered by my own lack of ability- not by an injury.

I get annoyed at my pony, because we’re going over ground I SWEAR we’ve been over before. So, where is the improvement?

Funny enough, job-wise, I sometimes dislike work (let’s face it- if it wasn’t work it would be called fun!) but I can acknowledge that I am LUCKY to have a job that at least sometimes feels fulfilling, and that lets me use some of my skills. That is valuable, even if I do feel overworked and cranky about it some/most days.

Discontentment- maybe this is the winter of my discontent?

Riding-wise, Oats was okay…Pissy and rude on Sat/Sun (he got a trail ride on Friday by the young girl, so WTF suck it up pissy pants!!) and you know what? I just rode. I ignored, and I kicked on and on and on. And he dealt with it with some bucking/kicking out but then let it go.

My jumping was beyond terrible on Sunday (didn’t really do any on Saturday as there were only poles set up) and I practiced my eye exercises and some no-stirrup work. I also realized that was where the giant bruise on my foot came from…The stirrup banging against my foot because I wasn’t willing to fully commit to crossing it over the front of the pommel. Serves me right I guess?!! haha.

Canter work did seem to be getting better (more on the left rein, duhhh), and we did a lot of 3 trot strides- 4 canter- 4 trot- 5 canter, etc etc. to keep him getting sharp!

So, in conclusion, riding in the winter still doesn’t seem a lot more desirable than chain-watching the X-files, but I’m trying. And I am going to keep trying.

The running part is still a big disappointment. I feel like I am never going to be able to run as freely as I used to. Sighhhhh.