The Grand Banana: MEC race #5 recap~

26253167579_de3c3b4393_o

Halloween Half- Marathon! Photo courtesy of MEC Victoria.

Finally, a race I can be proud of!! After a slew of really uninspiring races, races that blew up in my face, races that left me feeling pretty lacklustre about racing and my athletic running ability…I pulled this one out and it felt GREAT!

I wasn’t too enthused about it- to be honest, I was very anxious. My last  half marathon (MEC in June at Royal Roads) was just horrible. I felt like dying, was unsure about why I couldn’t breathe while I was running, and was just feeling concerned and a bit worried about how this was going to go. Was I going to have to walk, gasping for breath? Feeling like I was going to collapse?

37320089444_5f255b9b17_o

The day was PHENOMENAL! Photo courtesy of MEC Victoria.

I did take the entire week off running, and started toning it down quite early last week- shorter runs, taking more days off, making it easier. Not gonna lie, taking the week off from running last week was TOUGH. I felt antsy, anxious, sluggy and like…What if this didn’t pay off? What then? I took a week off, for nothing? (I know a week off in the grand scheme of things is A-Ok! and I needed the rest for my legs, but try telling your brain that).

Anyways, I took time off running, took it easy, went to the corn maze on Saturday with my husband and friend, and didn’t drink. All nice things, and it was incredibly beautiful on the weekend. A kind of beauty that makes me want to live outside haha.

24177184458_0daf4489a9_z

Gatorade break for me. Photo courtesy of MEC Victoria.

The morning was cold and I was kind of second-guessing my long-sleeves and shorts combo but I didn’t want to get too hot running, as I was going to be out there for awhile and it was supposed to be 17 degrees as the high for the day. Incredible!

And we’re off! I set out with a goal- try for under 5 min/km. Too ambitious? Maybe but I was just grasping at straws here. My first km felt kind of hard, but not really? 4:48/km. Hm…

But the beauty of it was…It just kept flowing. I felt light as a feather, light as air. I ran and ran, and thought about how I could do it forever.

My legs felt good, so good they wanted to be challenged.

I got caught up a bit in the gravel sections (so slow and sloggy) but counseled myself to run carefully here and pick it up when I could. Don’t try to push it too much on the ‘no grip’ sections, it isn’t worth the energy. Same for the running across the grass sections.

At 8km I had to take my shoe off to shake gravel out of it. GReeeeat….This would typically derail me bigtime, but I shook it off (literally) and kept running.

I felt happy, it was getting tough but I could do it. I was doing it. I could meet the challenge! I felt like I could do this, and then I could do even more. It was a fabulous feeling and one that has been missing from my races for a year or more. I was smiling, I felt good and I was happy.

At the finish, I was running with a young guy (who totally beat me at the end, ha) and we finished, turned to each other, and gave each other a high-five. 🙂 That’s what racing is for me- what I had been missing for so long. That purity, that feeling of fun, and freedom.

Thanks again to the excellent team at MEC, and the well organized (if a little insane) race. Good snacks, safe course and a great cheering section. I was even lucky enough to be able to go out for brunch with my husband (who ran an AMAZING race) and our friend who also battled it out to complete a solid 10k.  A great day.

Advertisements

Snickers vs Mars vs 3 Musketeers

In the showdown between candy bar giants, who was the winner? (sidenote: US seems to prefer candy bar to our more regional ‘chocolate bar’)

IMG_0316

Clearly Snickers was the winner, with a balanced palate of salty/sweet (but not cloyingly sweet) and a pleasant texture of nougat/caramel/chopped peanuts, that appealed to most in the office. It has the added bonus of protein from the peanuts, so it is practically a health food. Maybe even a vegetable, if we want to go US-style here. Seasonal variations on Snickers bars include almonds and dark chocolate!

IMG_0314

Second place is kind of a toss-up between Mars and 3 Musketeers *I wanted to write 2 Musketeers, I mean it only has nougat (more marshmallowy) and chocolate so what is the third element here?

Mars lost ground in this round due to the overwhelming sweetness of the whole bar. A stiffer nougat chew was nice, but it’s so sweet it makes all of our fillings ache. Caramel is a good touch but again, just too damn sweet. Plus, no peanuts so…It seems overwhelmingly bad for you. I can’t even justify it really. Their seasonal variation at one point was Mars Maple, available only in…drumroll please…Canada. It’s just a Mars. What more do you want??

3 Musketeers also failed here due to its marshmallowy texture and no added fun features like nuts or caramel. A bland marshmallow bar? I would eat that and I still really like them (and the internet says 3 Musketeers has experimented with strawberry marshmallow nougat and also dark chocolate, so they have some intrepid fans for sure)…But here it just got lost in the wishy-washy sweetness and no backstory.

IMG_0317

Also this might be in our future too if we keep this up past Halloween! Thank you to my colleague for providing the chocolate bars for our taste tests.

Second chance summer

What a great weekend. It was so lovely, I wish I could bottle it, so I could release those ‘feel good’ endorphins for months to come…

18814244_10103428581512541_6577641319078813719_n

Photo courtesy of my friend- blurry but it captures all the fun we had!

It was the kind of weekend where things just work out. The weather was fantastic, I had some great times with my girls, drank wine, ran, rode my pony, floated at Thetis lake and just had a fabulous time all around in the hot sun.

Saturday we went garage sale-ing in a community that usually has great garage sales, and this year it sucked! What gives??? I still bought a pair of shorts and workout pants (and they do look great) but in the past we’ve had way better luck. Oh well, that’s just how garage sales go I guess…

18697972_10103428581841881_3800630107211061122_n

Holding hands so we don’t drift apart! The two Sarahs.

Then I zipped out to the barn and rode Oats in the outdoor arena and he was really great out there! It was so hot too, I couldn’t believe it. Like a big frying pan. I had a super fun ride, hung out at the barn for a bit cleaning & conditioning my tack, and then drove home and prepared to…go on a really long run. In the heat. Wow! It was really rough, not gonna lie. More of an eternal shuffle-jog, but I did it!!

I then had the luxury of a great bbq dinner courtesy of my husband with a beer to share and a bottle of wine. Ahh….

Sunday I didn’t have to get up too early, but my super-husband made crepes! Whooo! And then we both set out for the day- I rode Oats and then my barn friends and I went and floated at Thetis Lake (a great idea of theirs and the BEST day to do it). I just had this feeling like, I wanted this day to last forever….

18739913_10158772958895603_2818849042775402005_n

Oats has also been enjoying the summer! Photo courtesy of Sarah C.

Husband went climbing for the whole day, so I wrapped up at the lake and then put my gym clothes on and stopped off and ran some hills (again in the heat, yeowch it was tough) before heading home to take Gidget out. I had to walk some, I was dying!! Oh well, my legs too quite the beating this weekend.

Home again, with an ice cream McFlurry to finish off an amazing weekend. I just wish I had so many more of these! 🙂

Know where you stand: Weekend recap!

This weekend, I had the distinct pleasure of attending a performance a friend was in- Reefer Madness: The Musical! And it was SOOO funny! I loved it! She was a great performer, and the musical was hilarious. Of note- the orgy scene was so over the top, I loved it! (and saw a lot more male butts than I thought I would ever see, hahahaha).

ReeferMadness_FBCover_2017_v2_print

So, kudos the the team at Passion and Performance together with Working Class Theatre. Standout job, and really entertaining. It even sort of took my mind off how my parents are blatantly not accepting of my proud child-free by choice status, and in fact, stewing in their own juices and demanding apologies from me because of something I said a few WEEKS ago. In a fairly non-consequential, casual environment.

Nope, not happening. I was very accommodating and understanding, up until a point. And they reached that point.

So, I’ve moved on to request no-contact and I will not be entertaining any family members anymore.

I feel pretty good about it, and will be reviewing the incident and how to proceed with my awesome equine counselor tonight. I feel good about having a game plan to protect myself, and my emotions/feelings.

In other news, riding was great this weekend, and Oats worked really hard for me! I did run and both runs were…universally terrible. The wind was so insane on Sunday I swear it was the longest run ever, getting blasted backwards for oh, 5km? Yeeeeesh it was nasty. I did hills on Saturday and they sucked too. The only redeeming thing about my runs is that I did them?

Ha. Makes me extra glad I didn’t do the Marathon Shuffle!

 

 

Things happen. That’s all they ever do.

Enjoying this song by Dawes recently.

2015-12-06 10.57.19

Oats, looking as impressive as always.

It feels lately like all I am doing is ranting about the weather (terrible), work (more terrible) and just feeling draggy, grouchy, griping, unhappy, burned out, fried, stressed, sleepless, exhausted, etc etc etc.

I’m happy to report that today, unlike every single day this week, the sun is shining, it is slightly warmer out, and I do not feel completely fried, though it is a Friday and those days are notoriously nightmarish at work, sooooo yeah. But hey, I’ll take it right now.

Last night though was a different story, ha. I walked home in the longest, bitterest, saddest walk ever. It was FREEZING, rain/frozen rain/hail/snow and blasting wind. It was quite epic in a really bad way. I was soaked, even with an umbrella, and had to take my dog out, and then get dressed and go ride in my Thursday jump lesson.

To say I wasn’t really feeling it is the understatement of the century, ha.

But, I did.

…And I didn’t regret it. I never do.

We had a fine warmup, it was a long warmup b/c I was FROZEN. I needed to warm up longer than Oats, who was feeling pretty fine. We worked over a really crazy exercise- two outside lines, and then a gymnastic in the middle of the ring.

It was pretty nuts! Small jumps-only x-rails, and we really enjoyed it. I was able to really ‘ride’ my ride. Sit tall, make decisions, ride forward, and go with it!

We’d jump the first outside line, and the slice the three fences on a diagonal- then jump the next outside line, and slice the fences on the diagonal going the other way. Then over small flowerboxes as skinnies (we failed at this EVERY TIME. Oats deked out, hahahhahah) and the over the gymnastic in the middle.

I like it! A good challenge, even if I was a grumpy Gus about the entire day.

Really enjoying the creativity. Go pony go! Loving what my trainer has for me each lesson.

Goofing around

Coming back from travelling in Brazil, then moving, and now…I just don’t feel that motivated when I ride. Sure, I love my lessons and I am having a blast, but that spark to get out and go to horse shows? Not there right now.

13615130_10100577283766726_1731268191622004658_n

So, the field to the left? Yes we jumped up and down from it!

Part of me struggles with this, but the other part is like, whoa whoa whoa…You went traveling, you bought a new house and moved into it, things are busy and it is a season of change. Sit tight, and that desire will come creeping back as it always does.

I am noticing it in my riding too. On Saturday I schooled Oats in the ring and he felt BLAH. Just so..ugh. Looky, silly, resistant, annoying…no thanks. Sunday, I went to school in the ring and saw my friend had removed the planks that separate the big x-c field where they turn horses out from the riding arena (these are made to be removed, it’s really neat actually.) I kept an eye out on the horses to make sure they didn’t decide to suddenly gallop into the riding arena, and she practiced jumping up and down from the arena to the field, and back again.

It looked really fun!

So I had to try it too! I asked my friend for a lead, but you know what? Good old Oats was like, nah I got this. He ambled up from a trot over the bank with NO drama (or enthusiasm..ha) and then my friend suggested I walk down to minimize any surprises for Oats…Well, he had this one too! He slowly shuffled down the bank. Ok. Needs more energy, haha.

1796559_10100173963359056_598923915_n

My hands probably looked exactly like this.

Eventually we worked up to cantering up the bank, cantering around, and then trotting down the bank- Oats was a VERY good pony and did it all with no silly behaviour, and no drama.

I rode the down part with my hands too high, oops, I was surprised haha. It has been like, ages since I did anything like that!

And then, because I was having too much fun goofing off, I left the ring and went to finish my ride in the big field up top. I couldn’t face schooling after having so much fun goofing around with a bank, ahha.

And that, friend, was a good and fun ride. I need to let the anxious, ‘must be competitive’ part of me go sometimes…I ride for fun, and I ride to enjoy myself and my horse. That’s what it’s all about. Plus, the weather is fantastic right now, yessssssss!!!

Brazil Journey Phase 2: Sao Paulo de Morro!

After landing in Salvador, we hopped the ferry boat to Sao Paulo de Morro (St. Paul’s Hill) a super touristy little island that is for people-only, no cars!

14068494_10100602680052366_6203565638748293352_o

Way out in the tidal flats

Well that was the plan, except it is winter and the Atlantic was so rough we had to cut sideways to a closer island, hop into vans and drive for two hours, to get into another boat to get to the island. It took closer to 3.5 hours than 2 on the open ocean! Argh!

13962794_10100602682462536_5281227167538905643_o

Boat ride #2

Once we were on the island, everything was so close. We walked to our hotel, and it was super nice, a boutique hotel. Things on the island are NOT cheap- quite pricey compared with Salvador. It was much quieter than we anticipated, apparently the island as  reputation for being quite wild, a real party town in tourist months. We had our pick of restaurants- there are like a zillion, and they seem to offer a lot of Italian food for some reason hahah. We had lobster two days in a row! Can’t complain about that!

13975304_10100602680546376_1783161298744931230_o

View from our hotel…Amazing.

The draw there is the beach- it is enormous, there are three of them and we had the beach right outside our room. There is also a big zipline, which I didn’t do because I am quite frankly afraid of heights!

Swimming was fun- because it is winter, the rainy season also happened and it was hot and sunny, then pouring rain, then hot and sunny, then pouring rain. Made for an interesting day!

13962847_10100602680830806_2665187758720883804_o

The town square.

We ate acai (yum!!) frozen gelato, chips and bought beers and generally just had a fabulous time. It’s very easy to like the island Sao Paulo de Morro, I can say that! We even waded out to a tide pool that has a ton of very friendly fish- it’s like snorkeling except you don’t even have to snorkel, haha.

14067983_10100602681883696_3319966216796982682_o

I loved the breakfast our hotel had- it was AMAZING. Best spread of the stay I think! I would definitely recommend visiting the island- the trip out can be a bit of a pain in the butt, but you it’s worth it.

13879347_10100594933266986_9147935450302378398_n

Tranquil.