A really good lesson

Had my weekly jump lesson last night, after a looong day at a workshop (which I enjoyed but wow, it was like getting information through a firehose. Too much!). I was looking forward to a good ride, fingers crossed.

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It was. You know? Just really good. Oats was still sticky through the transitions, so we spent quality time schooling those before moving on to the jumps. And the jumps, I requested we keep them small so I could focus on the technical aspects of the course, and it rode pretty well!

The course: Tricky! Two ‘slice’ jumps to a bending line on both ends, a small gymnastic two-stride x-rail to oxer, and then rode it back the other way oxer jump-in two strides to the x-rail. Exciting!

And I was very pleased with how it rode. If Oats got sticky, I schooled the transition right then and there, and then proceeded to the jump/course. Get it done right.

There were quite a few jumps on course, 13 efforts total. And we were schooling so well that I immediately wanted to go jump it again! And we did! Though with that, I am starting to realize my fitness is starting to outpace Oats’…He was huffing and puffing and I was feeling totally fine. Hm.

I did notice that last weekend as well, when my Karen Brain lesson usually leaves me huffing and puffing and sweaty, I felt totally fine. This is a good thing, let me tell you!  It means my fitness has improved at a rate that I can actually start to feel. And it makes me feel like a confident and strong rider. Yes!

 

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Run.Rest.Ride.Repeat

An important part of racing is rest.

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Wish it was summer and we were enjoying the good life…Oats takes his rest very seriously.

Now I just need to tattoo that to my forehead, backwards, so I can learn my lessons haha. I am on the opposite spectrum of most – taking it ‘easy’ or days off can be very psychologically challenging for me. Therefore, the week before a race is often fraught with worries about lagging, feeling heavy or slow.

I make an attempt to scale back the week before in a big way.

What does this look like this week? Well things vary, but ideally…

  • Monday- light gym workout with pushups/stretching.
  • Monday night- like, a 15 minute ride on Oats haha. I was tired!
  • Tuesday- Not running to work this week! No treadmill run at the gym and light stretching only, with my rehab exercises.
  • Tuesday night- No dressage lesson. Light ride on Oats.
  • Wed – Not running to work, and I might do some weight machine work with stretching/rehab.
  • Wed night- day off riding! Bathroom cleaning and TV watching night.
  • Thursday- Day off working out and going out for lunch. Go me! I almost never do this. As a creature of habit, it makes me feel uncomfortable when I deviate from my routines.
  • Thursday night- jump lesson!
  • Friday- Light barbells work with stretching/rehab exercises. No squats/cardio warmups. 5k total jog to Dr’s office for foot treatments in the AM.
  • Friday night- drinking wine 😉 Day off riding.
  • Saturday- Light ride on Oats, and no hills or any other runs.
  • Saturday night- no wine. Boo!

So that’s my plan and I am sticking to it!

Don’t give up on your dreams, Buddy!

A busy weekend when I wasn’t really expecting it! My folks moved officially to the Island, so we spent a lot of time with them. Then the time we weren’t eating/visiting, I was riding good ol’ Oats and running (track with my husband for practice, and the trails at Thetis Lake for fun!).

Oats was great this weekend, my rides seemed fairly forgettable in a good way so yesss! Saturday I worked over a pole, and did some straightness work. Easier said than done…

We did something funny on Sunday–I jumped him around a little bit in the ring and he was a bit sassy/tired/balky, so I cut it out after a few jumps and took him to the big field, and we did…Trot sets! To me and Oats, trot sets= my sprinting track work. He was huffing and puffing, ha. Still had enough energy to s

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Running in the field is my favourite says Oats! The dressage part…not so much.

pook right at the end though, going up a hill. What a goof!

This is what we did:

Walk in field. Pick up trot for 3 minutes, and then 2 minutes walk.

Trot for 4 minutes, then 2 minutes walk.

Trot for 5 minutes, then 2 minutes walk.

Back down!

Trot for 4 minutes, then 2 minutes walk.

Trot for 3 minutes, then 2 minutes walk.

Trot for a few minutes (he spooked then, so clearly he had a lot of energy and I lost track of my time…) and then cool-down walk.

This took me to noon, and time to hop off and go home.

Monday I did an equine counselling session and we discussed the show (good at managing challenges, kind of bad at my fall/trying to hold myself together to compete); and Oats’ mystery behaviour on Wednesday- her conclusion was that he was tired. And you know? He was acting so strangely that I totally buy it. Interesting!

Tuesday was my dressage lesson with Karen Brain. We were back out in the field and it was hard work! It was also really cool. We worked on picking up the canter on the ‘up’ side of a hill, incorporating a circle, and then managing the circle to the down-part of the hill. Hilariously, we sucked at it for awhile- I couldn’t seem to manage to keep going on a circle, keep his canter ‘bouncy’ and up instead of sprawling and flat, and make my hands do what I wanted them to!

It got better though, phew. A very neat ride.

We gain wisdom three ways

The first, through reflection, which is the noblest.

The second, through imitation, which is the easiest.

The third, through experience, which is the bitterest.

Saw this quote (by Confucius) in a murder mystery I was reading yesterday and wow, really liked it. I also feel like sometimes experience is the toughest way to learn…But you do learn, every time.

I also saw a quote that the best way to sum up an event is two ways- did you win or did you learn?

I think I can always apply this to both my life, and my riding life. For example, I got back on Oats Sunday after his week off, and it was ROUGH. He was a spooky idiot, snorty, running backwards, freaked out by the tires moving location in the ring, and generally a moron to ride. I was bummed out, and concerned that even in the 1 week that we had on vacation he had regressed. We did have some GREAT rides the days before I left, so I got back on and was like WTF is this hell pony I have now?

So yesterday…Despite my sneaking temptation to get back on and DEAL WITH THE PROBLEM I instead learned from my previous attempts to ‘deal’ and ‘straighten him out’ that ended poorly and with me losing my temper and went the opposite way- I galloped him in the field.

I knew that if I went in to my ride with him with a desire to really get into him, and lay it out with him, things had a excellent chance of going poorly. I would get handsy, upset with him, frustrated, you name it, it’s happened a few times already this summer.

So…

I remove myself from that evil desire to really get into it and battle.

And instead, do something set way apart and with less angst and just enjoy my ride. We galloped in the field with a friend, and Oats and I had a great time. He was huffing and puffing, and the hills are helping him develop his fitness further. For me, I am learning to not balance off my hands (still not great) and develop more of my two-point without too much upper body stuff.

In this instance, I would say I have gained wisdom two ways- the bitter and hard-won way of experience, but also the nobler way of reflection. It’s a never ending process.

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.

Why I’m not a New Years Resolutioner

So, I guess I’m going to continue feeling cranky and crabby. My parent drama really came to head yesterday, just before I was going to check out a new gym- Steve Nash Fitness– to test out their group fitness classes (that I had a free pass for, for a few months). Needless to say, the group fitness classes didn’t happen and will probably have to wait.

My New Years Resolution

My New Years Resolution

I’m still not feeling great about it, but I am trying to be supportive. As it turns out, that is harder to do than I thought.

So, I have my dressage lesson tonight and quite frankly, still feel very brain-drained. Emotional turmoil is tiring. So tiring.

But anyways, when I was trying to plan my new workout class yesterday, and when I was at my work gym today for my usual 30-40 minute daily workout, I was struck again by the ‘born again New Years Resolutioners’.

You know the type…Typically flabby, middle-aged women but sometimes men, try-hards who are ‘going to get this year off to the right start!!!”

They sport all the gimmicks- FitBit, new running shoes (in neon, though I have neon shoes too haha), iPods gripped in their hands, all they do is talk about their new naturopath and their recommended holistic treatments, and spend all of their time lolling around on the mats or foam rollers instead of doing any solid workouts.

These are people I have NEVER seen at the gym before January 1. I have my regulars, hell, I am a regular, haha. I listened to one woman talk to another in the change room (sidenote: why do people take freaking forever to get changed, arranged, and IPodded up? Get in, get changed and GTFO!!!!!).

They were saying about how going to the gym was such a better idea than trying to run after work (agreed- I only run after work in spring/summer/fall, as it’s too dark and unsafe in the winter) and how they were all prepared this year!!! They had all the songs they wanted loaded on their iPods, they had bought new running shoes, they had the newest workout clothes….

I just wanted to say- I, sporting my non music, my cut-off gym pants, and ratty tank-top, enough with the STUFF and enough with the BS and get on a machine and GET GOING!

Enough with the talk and rolling around. Get up, get in and get out. Rinse and repeat. You have to do it every day (and for me, I’m talking years of the same routine) that it becomes a mindless exercise to get to the gym and get down to business. If I had to wait for a friend? I’d never freaking go. You know why? Because THEY would never go!

I mix up my workouts though– I do get really stuck in a rut sometimes (hence the trying out of new group fitness workouts I mentioned earlier) but it’s too important to just GO AND DO IT. Don’t wait for a new year, a Monday, a new you, a friend, anything.

You can’t rely on trinkets, gadgets, new clothes, other people, the weather, anything. You have to rely on you. That is the only thing I have literally learned, doing this. I am a lunchtime warrior, haha.

And I am no saint with this either. I am a dessert-with-lunch-and-dinner type of person. I workout too much sometimes for no reason. I don’t necessarily have any good goals – though this year I am proud to say I signed up for an Island Run series!! Yeah! I am trying to fix my knee problem, though that is very slow going.

People are literally excuse machines. I can be (about my riding/jumping/showing goals, because I am an anxiety-riddled huge chicken who has something to prove, apparently), but I am NOT about my workouts, or the amount and intensity of riding I do – which is tons, and quite intense.

Me this year

Me this year

I’m doing it. And sometimes, that’s enough, because I do it every.single.day.

Bikini Bodies

Beach time

Beach time

While I’m away on holidays, I remembered seeing a young woman at the beach a weekend ago playing frisbee with a guy.

Nothing about her was particularly memorable…Except her weight.

She was stick thin. Horrible. It made me cringe, seeing her expend energy playing frisbee on a hot day, when her bikini was barely staying on her incredibly protruding hip-bones. 

She looked exactly like my friend and mentor who died of a life-long eating disorder. 

I find it really hard to see people live like that, knowing that someone I cared for a lot died that way, quite recently. Nobody is that naturally thin. Nobody.

She looked like a woman in one of my workout classes in university, who would go double-hard when we were taking step classes, never stopping when we got a break to catch our breath or grab a drink. She would keep going, her skinny arms pumping, her scrawny thighs stomping up and down the steps. She looked like a walking skeleton.

I feel like if we saw animals (our pets) who looked like these women- we would freak out! Call the SPCA! Someone is starving these animals. Why are we not like this for ourselves? 

This young woman on the beach caught eyes from all directions- but because we felt sorry for her.