Going for it!!!

Another busy weekend for old Oaty and I! We started off strong with a jump lesson in the field (my fav- I bust my butt each summer hauling jumps out there so I can enjoy them and lol- it is ALWAYS me doing it. I was going to have help this summer but circumstances prevailed and I had to drag Ian out to help me!) 😉

All small jumps, but he’s totally going for it!

I even dragged another jump out there so we could have more options- they are scanty because it’s just me and those standards are HEAVY to drag all the way out there, so I am a bit limited.

But, it’s always fun and this past weekend Oats really agreed with me hahaha. He started off a bit sluggy, and I was a bit anxious because we had one jump on a ‘hill’ of sorts (tiny) but next to the owner’s house, where he finds it spooky. So, double whammy for me- hill? Spooks?

Wheeee!!

We worked up to it slowly and carefully, and he was really good about it. A touch looky but not bad.

We then started cruising over the other jumps and I was a bit all over the place at first. We took a break and worked over our first course and WOW Oats came ALIVE. He was amped!! We cantered the fences, and then he got lazy and dropped a hind hoof over the small xrail on the hill and stung himself a bit and BOLTED?! Haaaa. I know right, Oats? Fast? Nooooo way. This is the slowest pony on the planet.

So we got him back, and on to the next fence! He was feeling it. Ha.

yeah!!

And then on to course #2, and woooow, I haven’t had this much horse to ride in like, ever??? He was charging around, going for it, I was just along for the ride! Go Oats go!!! He is in the best shape of his life, according to him?! Hahahha. Nice to see him with so much forward energy, even if it did really surprise both me and my trainer lol.

Which was good, because I wanted him to burn off some energy- we had a trail class event to go to on Sunday! Stay tuned…

Lessons on lessons on lessons!

Wow, so where to begin? I have been SO fortunate to have many lessons to enjoy and learn from with old Oaty.

Yeeeahhh want this feeling again!!

Last Thursday, we had our third dressage lesson. It actually begin in a kind of disappointing way- he was resistant and a bit high headed and stiff through his neck. I was annoyed by his resistance, but realized that we are really only a few weeks back into it, and he does soften up generally. And it did take work, but he came through it and by the canter, he had the best canter he’s had- like, period?! Amazing!!!

Except…It didn’t really stick, and my next ‘harder’ ride on Sunday (he got Friday off, and had a very light ride Saturday), I wanted to duplicate the canter and my dressage trainer’s words to me on Thursday were echoing in my head- why do you two point in canter? You sit very nicely, so sit! And I couldn’t really remember why I was sitting?

Well, I remembered very clearly on Sunday, hah. I was stifling him! He was seahorse cantering around, VERY shittily. It just sucked, straight up. He was stuck going backwards, his hind end dropped out, he was trot cantering, and his head was sky high resisting.

Sooooo back to the drawing board with a nice, soft two point canter.

What gives?

My best guess is…I don’t have the correct warm up in place when I try to go from trot to THAT canter. So, it sucks basically.

Monday was off- yes, Easter Monday! And I went in determined to correct my mistakes. (That is what the older me would say). Actually what I did was wipe the slate clean a bit, go for a nice lateral walk warm-up, trot nicely in the contact, and call it quits with a longer walk outdoors. And it did go very well 🙂 I had to let it go.

From last summer- will I get there again?

Tuesday was my jump lesson! I was feeling anxious (see last week, when he was fired up, hahah and it scared me because I was not used to it) but also very grateful, since we CAN LESSON AGAIN!!! Thank the heavens!!

We had a line set up, with 4 strides. I immediately felt weird about it- lines? Related distances?! Can I do this again?

Newsflash- yes you can, even though my brain melted out of my ears and I bunged it up hahah. We warmed up nicely over some small fences before tackling the line of poles and he went well, but I still felt worried about the speed. We then set up the line with teeny tiny speedbumps and we immediately went wayyyyy too fast into it and ka-blammed though! Yikes! No thanks!!

I am not ready for this eager Oats! And as my trainer reminds me, no way should I be trying to hold or manage him too strongly down the line- or else I risk asking for the shitty little half distances too close to the fence. Boldness is great!

So, we did what we had to do, so I could learn quietly without reaching my personal ‘red zone’….Back to poles. Humbling? Oh, very. Important to do? Again, yes!

So we went back to poles and I let my brain reform back into my head and things felt better. We did it a few times (with a wicked right drift, haha) and it was totally fine. Phew!

So things to work on for sure, and it is eye opening to me these days. 7 months off?? And it is NOT the same.

And jump lesson #2 is in the books!

And it was pretty funny, actually. I confessed to my trainer that I had INSANE anxiety for my first lesson- something about being super freaked out and worried about Oats re-injuring himself, the face that I had to learn how to jump again, and just..wow. I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest, my hands were trembling a few HOURS after my lesson, and I had a massive post-adrenaline crash later on the couch. It was nuts!

So we did this round and it was so quiet it was a snooze-fest!

But the best antidote to that anxiety is time, and to do it again. I felt calmer on my Tuesday lesson- I had done it once already, nothing bad happened, Oats is doing fine, and so am I. I know the anxiety is still there, but each lesson we do, and each week we pass, helps it be less of a threat/spectre.

So what did I wig out about this time? Oh, only that my very.slow.pony. was GALLOPING wildly out of control at the tiny speedbump-jumps?!

And this is our blooper round, where I got scared of pace?? He is such a good boy.

Except, he was actually carrying pace and not like, slugging along as is his wont, and boy, I am not used to speed? Impulsion? Energy? It freaked me right out! I pulled back and had to circle, hahah. My trainer, bless her, actually videotaped to show me exactly ‘how’ fast and scary my wild steed was going….At a reasonable, nice canter. Not a wild stallion gallop.

Ha. I couldn’t believe how my perception has changed after going only walking and trotting for so many months!!! It was nuts!

So, now I need to not be so precious and be ok with carrying pace to our ‘jumps’…how funny!

VIRA Cedar 12k Race Recap!

This race was rescheduled from a really bad snowstorm we had a few weeks ago, in Feb. And they definitely chose the right weekend to reschedule- it was cold, but clear and sunny yesterday, making for a really nice race experience.

53199720_10161505081310504_7973963791295578112_n

Ok I’m a blur but I weirdly kind of like the effect? It looks really cool! Plus the girl behind me placed second in our age group, so  how good is this timing? 😉

This race used to have a pretty notorious set of hills on it, and a slog-slow finish through a playground field for the finish. They re-did the course last year after a car accident forced them to change the course last-minute, and people liked the new course so much that they kept it! Yay! That means the course is MUCH faster, fluid and now allows for a real sprint to the finish. I like it a lot more this way, haha.

Note- there are still some rolling hills, but they aren’t even remotely comparable to what it used to be…

I was going to use this race to see how well I could stick to a under-4:30/km pace. Last time I kind of struggled or didn’t take it really seriously, so I thought I was ready to meet the challenge appropriately. And I did! I got kind of caught up at the start, and my gun/chip time have like…8 seconds of elapsed time. Hah. Oh well!

IMG_0816.jpg

They had the best cupcakes! So cute. 

I came off the start fairly behind, but worked to steadily close the gap. I was pretty happy with my consistent pacing (in a bit of a headwind the entire way out…) with some Km’s at 4:30 but mostly under. I worked hard in the first half to maintain.

At the turnaround, I had been passing people pretty regularly. The turnaround was good, I felt fairly strong and able to keep my pace really moving. I caught up to a few runners, ran a ridiculously fast 1km at 10km- like 4:14?? HA. I could NOT keep that, and the runner I’d been matching blew past me. Ahhh hahaha. Oh well!

IMG_0817.jpg

Came up fairly strong for the finish, and my eyes were watering like crazy! I was pleased with my time, and felt like it was probably one of the most competent 12ks I’d run. My stomach cramped up horribly after though, UGHH and I didn’t feel great for the rest of the day/evening. Ugh.

A big thanks to the volunteers, VIRA and Bastion Run Club for putting on a lovely race. The snacks, cupcakes and treats were amazing. I just loved them! And because this is a smaller race, the fasties didn’t show up and I got first place in my AG, and was 9th woman finisher with a time of 52:41 chip/52:49 gun. 🙂

Mr. Oats turns on the afterburners!

I had every intention of doing a pretty casual ride on Tuesday, after my Monday ride on Oats was kind of ‘blah’ and he felt draggy and lazy. He was great on Saturday, had Sunday off, was very mediocre on Monday and Tuesday? Maybe good day for some lateral work or something more technical.

13612144_10100576117668596_7777130905720644312_n

Just like this, but …in an indoor arena and not summer.

HA, or so I thought!

My legs are still pretty achy and tired from the race on Sunday so I was hoping to preserve them…Nope.

I got on Oats, began a warm-up of walk/trot/canter, with some bigger gaits and smaller gaits. He immediately began fussing and getting humpy at the canter. Hm? He swapped leads, got dramatic and cranky. Interesting…We’ll do what you want to do Oats!

What did he want to do? Gallop for 35 minutes straight.

Wowza~! In all fairness it was REALLY FUN to ride. Just going, going, going, going like the Energizer Bunny. 🙂 It is so rare for me that he has this kind of positive, pure energy. We galloped, cantered, circled (when I had enough steering power to turn better), galloped some more, more canter, and thennnn could bring in transitions without any attitude.

Funny eh? He was so sweaty by the end of it, and we had a long walk cool-out.

His breathing was great during though, and he was just so steady at the long canter. He is the smoothest! I was tired though, holy cow. My leggs…

Go Oats Go!

Jusu 1-day easy cleanse. My review!

IMG_0371

Full disclosure– I do not believe in cleanses or detoxes (that’s what your liver is for, and maybe less drinking and/or eat more fruit and vegetables). I also bought this at a charity silent auction for $30, so for that value for money it’s a fun thing to try out. Full price is $60, so your view may vary on whether it is worth it or not!

The easy cleanse is made up of 6 juices:

Must Be Nuts. A really fun one to kickoff the day and also their highest calorie juice. It tastes vaguely chocolately, and slightly gritty but not unpleasant. Quite tasty and a real treat! I had this around 9:30 am. I didn’t feel hungry after this one, even though I went through my usual routine (gym at 11am) and found my mouth watering watching Rachel Ray cook a turkey on TV when I was running on the treadmill. Weird, because I don’t really like turkey and I wasn’t particularly hungry.

IMG_0373

Emerald City. Very low-calorie veggie juice, quite ‘cucumber-forward’ and tasted to me like a very zingy gazpacho. A slow sipper, but nice to drink and quite light. I had this around 12:30 pm as my ersatz lunch drink. It was a bit difficult to smell people’s food in the microwave at this point but not that bad.

IMG_0374

The Classic. This one tasted much more ‘fruity’ and was a very vibrant burgundy courtesy of the beets. Relied heavily on ginger and apple for strong flavours. This was around the time my stomach started feeling very acidic…I had this one around 2:30 pm. Also there was an art show opening on our floor that had two-bite brownies, cookies and banana bread. Sorely tested my willpower, but I managed to move on.

IMG_0375

Green Machine. Very ginger-forward, hints of parsley and a bite of lemon.  At this point I still wasn’t feeling hungry BUT I also didn’t want to drink juice anymore. My stomach felt really ‘sloshy’ and quite acidic with minor heartburn and I was FREEZING. I drank this one around 5:00 pm and finished it driving out to the barn for my jump lesson. I brought my fifth juice with me in the car but…yeah.

IMG_0376

Didn’t drink this one, still in my fridge: Hawkeye. It looks cool, but after riding the idea of drinking any more juice made my stomach recoil and I had pretty bad heartburn after too. GAG.

IMG_0377

Double Jointer. Now this one I drank with pleasure- after skipping Hawkeye I thought this one might help settle my stomach and it did! It’s another fairly high-calorie drink, very smoooooth almond flavour, not quite as gritty as Must be Nuts and a pleasant and mellow way to wrap up the night. This one did not bug my stomach, it was really nice to drink. I drank this one at 8:30pm.

IMG_0378

Pros: I actually woke up with abs this morning. I can say that has happened basically NEVER. So….bonus?

Cons: I spent the entire night running to the bathroom to pee every hour on the hour. Water weight anyone?

Basically, the juice cleanse is a fun idea and an interesting way to test your willpower. If you’re like me and spent the week eating kind of regretfully (dinner at Bao with friends on Monday, dessert at Olo  too, Premier’s Awards Dinner on Tuesday with cheesecake and wine, Wednesday candy buffet/bingefest with the candy curated by yours truly so you know it’s good…) then this is a fun way to ‘test’ yourself and see what you are really capable of. Does food entertain you, keep you from being bored? This might help change your perspective if only for a little bit.

Of course, the only true cleanse is moderation in everything and fruit/veggies. But yeah, you knew that!

 

 

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.

16179409_1237809182969458_1539437542595587068_o

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.

16194917_1239019722848404_8191907555922505785_n

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…

Track Meet #2 Race Recap

This past weekend was also my second attempt at racing on the track at the Christie-Phoenix Insurance Victoria Run Series.

Was I ready? Hmmm…not so much. It was hot, and I was feeling pretty lazyyyy….Literally the polar opposite of last track race, where it was freezing and I was so cold my teeth were chattering.

13316854_10100560778358696_5340275053558879397_o

I am a winner! (of nobody in particular)!

We had gone to Thetis Lake with floaties and got fro-yo and I had ridden that morning, and just, yes I was feeling entirely warm and very mellow to get up and gear up for a race. Nevertheless we were going to do it!

We checked in, got our bib numbers, and waited and waited. We had an opportunity to watch the elites race and WOW…They are astoundingly fast. Phenomenal. To compare what I do and what they do is like watching a camel vs a gazelle. No comparison.

I registered for both the 3,000 and the 1,500m but only ended up running the 3k because they were running both back to back and my lungs were KILLING me. I couldn’t stop coughing! So, yes the best option was to leave gracefully on the 3k and go home haha. The 3k went okay–I went out way too fast. My fastest kilometre on record- 3:45! And then I immediately bombed it. My pace was too fast, my lungs couldn’t keep up and I rode the struggle bus allll the way to the finish line, finishing with a really bad 4:21- which is a km that I would normally finish a 10k at. HA!

BUT since I was the only young woman racing in this race- I race in the slow people category because I sure am no elite! I still won first place and received a medal and some lovely flowers, that I am extremely allergic to and had to keep them outside on my patio.

I’m glad I went, but I wish I had run a little bit smarter. Each race teaches me a bit more about myself and about racing. Last race I learned not to try to pass on a corner, and this race I learned – again- not to go out too fast in the first KM, no matter how tempting it feels and how good you think you are!

Also because I only ran one race, my lungs were rotten all night and I was coughing like I had serious emphysema, but then the next day they were recovered way faster than my first track race–success!

Go us! 🙂

Race success! MEC Race #1- The Rust Buster 10k recap

I know, racing again so soon? Am I crazy? But hear me out- there’s a method to my madness. I had/have a very aggressive time goal (45 minutes) for my 10k, so I have to work hard to get there. Racing is hard. Racing is also more fun than just training, sooooo I sign up for races as ‘training’ to help me get there!

With me so far?

This was a new race to me- I had never heard of MEC races before last spring. But this year I signed up for alllll the MEC races. They’re cheap, easy to sign up for, and no-frills. Perfect. They are also normally very low-key, but apparently didn’t get the memo this year as they had over 500 runners?! WHA?

DSCF7756

More gaping mouth photos, but hey at least I’m running! Photo courtesy of Ian.

My legs didn’t feel amazing last week. I have a very hard time not using them (sounds funny I know), and before I knew it, I’d find myself on the stair stepper, or on the leg machine, legs aching, looking around being like WTF am I doing? So, a bit tired, not as good at recovery as I thought I would be.

So, for this 10k I had humbler goals- try for under 5:00 minute kms. Maybe 4:45?

We got to the staging area and it was a freaking zoo! The wind was bananas, it was raining, there were tons and tons of people waiting in the bib pickup line, I had to go to the bathroom (more lineups) and I was not sure if I’d get my bib in time! Ian had even dropped me off to park the car to give me more time, that I spent…stuck in the bib pickup line. GAH!!!

So, I was feeling a bit frantic and worried. I shouldn’t have worried though–it worked out fine. He came back, I waited in the bathroom line, came back and he was still in line, and I got my bib. Highlight of the day: running into my colleague who was running the 5k- and her time was no slouch either! Yay!! We were even able to shout to each other on course! 🙂

We started and the first loop was very blahhh. I didn’t love it. It was a bit hilly, the weather kind of sucked, and I wasn’t in the groove. We looped around back to the school and began our very lengthy out-and-back. I started getting into it more and looking at my watch- I was on target for a reasonable 4:34 or so? Wow!

I bargained with myself- “Ok you can check your watch at every KM but not before. It is tempting, but wait for the KM beep!” I sort of kept my promise to myself. I was holding strong, even though at 4km I kind of wanted to fade…But I remembered I’m better at the 5+ km’s than the first 5kms. So I hauled on!

We hit the bridge and things got ugly. It was surreal, the wind was so strong and we were getting blasted sideways, with rain. I saw the 5km runners and they looked absolutely miserable. I could only think, that’s me next then! And it was….rough. This was my slowest km by 15 seconds, no surprise there.

A teenager wearing a tanktop and I played leapfrog the whole time. It was interesting to be challenged like that. I didn’t really pass many people, and at that point they weren’t passing me- except for the teen. She ended up smoking me in the last few 100m, and beating me by like 10 secs…Ha, shoot!

Ian was able to take a pic of me,  yes!! And then it was all over! And I had met my so-far goal of 45:XX…with my best time so far of 45:35 (gun) and 45:30 (net). YESS!!!! And best of all, I actually felt like a competent runner–not dying/gasping/choking. Sweet!

Snacks after and my stomach was killing me! But my day wasn’t over yet…Stay tuned for more excitement tomorrow, as I wrapped up my race day with a visit with a friend to Sea Cider’s Wassail event!

 

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.