We celebrated by going to a friend’s amazing Halloween party extravaganza- we had a fabulous time! Enjoy some photos
Race recap: Cowichan Autumn Classic ‘Run now, wine later’
I ran this race last year and quite enjoyed the autumnal, small and cozy atmosphere of it- the fall colours, the winery, everything! So I signed up as an early bird this year and promptly forgot that I had signed up…Literally falling two weeks after my marathon debut. NOT great timing I guess?
But it took only about a week for my legs to stop feeling like total mush, and for my blisters to heal over and I felt fairly confident that it was going to be ok.
And then I got really sick…and dealt with a strong emotional blow with Tucker, and struggling with the after effects of the COVID+flu shot. Do not recommend, at all. Basically knocked me on my ass Thur/Fri/Sat. And race on Sunday? Yikes.
I slowly started feeling a bit better, but now it’s even Friday after having a cold and things for over a week and I am STILL snotty and nose blowing/coughing up stuff. WTF? My sinuses hurt man.
So last Sunday was not really an auspicious day at all but I’d signed up, felt reasonably ok but not great, and we did it! Ian signed up for the 5k just for something to do. When we drove up island, it was absolutely freezing, with frost on the ground. I was in shock. Two weeks ago we had a heat warning for the marathon, over 20 deg, and now frost? Damn! Luckily I planned ahead a little bit and brought my run gloves, but otherwise was in for a real slap to the face. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr… Plus we were running kind of late, we forgot how long it really took to get up there (an hour, apparently) and I was like arghhhh!
But, all worked out for the best! We hustled and got our bibs, raced to the bathrooms (not long lineups, thank GOD), didn’t have time to put our bibs in the draw 😦 and jogged to the start of the 5k. I was racing both 5k and 10k in a combined race ‘the combo’ where your times are added up and the fastest time wins.
We started and Ian and I were easily right in the leaders pack. I was pacing myself to a reasonable not great time- I didn’t really have the lung capacity to race super fast and my legs were frozen. Plus I wanted to be careful about not killing my lungs for the 10k. Burnout isn’t fun and when I start coughing, I really can’t stop!
It’s a super hilly course- up and down, with the downhill sections being very steep! There is also 1km section through a bit of trail, which is flat but very pitted with potholes, haha. So you went up-down-up-down on that part. I was reminded, with relief, how short a 5k is.
I cruised to a 22:?? and felt good about that. Hard effort but not killing myself. It still felt extremely cold. I then hung out for a bit waiting for the 10k to start. Ian finished ahead of me with a 20:?? which is a great effort- this isn’t a fast track by any stretch of the imagination!
Then the 10k- I learned my lesson from last year and started at the front. Last year I basically ran as hard as I could for the 5k and jogged the 10k…which was a mistake, b/c the combine the times and my 10k was just so.slow! Hit the middle for both, that’s the way to go.
We had more trail sections in the 10k course which was pretty good, but I am always surprised by how slow gravel feels compared with pavement. It is an excellently- marked course, very clear course markers and safe. Still damn hilly, haha. I didn’t really pass anyone, and nobody really passed me much.
It finally started to warm up (well, my body heat was going nuts haha) so I could take off my gloves the last 2-3 kms. A guy running ahead of me shouted that he wished he had my gloves earlier in the race 😉 I was SO thankful I had them. Lifesavers.
I tried to pull myself together for a stronger finish but kind of…blaaahhhhed my way. I felt strong, but nowhere near the lung capacity I could potentially have. That’s ok! I was done within my goal range (45 mintues) just squeaked under 46 hahah.
And it was good for 2nd place women in the combo race, Ian tied me with a 2nd in his 5k for the men’s, and we even got to do a complimentary wine tasting at Zenatta winery! Win-win eh??
This is a fun local race, quite small but well run with excellent and safe courses marked, good volunteers (thank you!!) and nice post-race snacks.
You always remember your first: Marathon recap!
So, I did it. Like any good runner, you turn into a cliche: The marathon runner. SIGH!
I held out for a long time, chiefly because I couldn’t stay healthy enough to train, let alone race, that type of distance. I got a few stress fractures (when people talk about shin splints, they have NO IDEA how bad they can get. Source: me) and I wasn’t able to walk very well so goodbyeee race plans! And then a pandemic, and then another set of stress fractures, and well you know the whole story!
So, this was my time to shine- clearly.
I did train fairly well with a ridiculously ambitious training plan (for people aiming to get under 3:30, and I can tell you the plan was NUTS and clearly designed more for people trying to get closer to a 3:15, in my opinion!).
But…the bugaboos are always there. The gerbils were running wild in my head, I was so anxious. It’s not a joke of a distance and I was aiming for an aggressive time. I chatted with a few runners I knew at the start and told them my time goals and they thought they were agreeable, but when I was pacing with a guy we chatted too and he was surprised that my time goals were that ambitious for my first…So I was kind of knotted up in uncertainty. Go big or go home??
I had a lot of nightmares about the race leading up to the day. Two back to back nightmares about missing the start? Hah. Weird.
The morning was anticlimactic. There was a heat warning for the race, as we are having an incredibly unseasonably warm October- this was the warmest this race had ever been, at just over 20 degrees when we were running! This added to my freakout…
We jogged to the start (a huge bonus of doing a hometown race. Zero travel!) and got into position. The wheels in my brain started to churn- there was NO pacers. None. I was really counting on one, given I am a newbie…And kind of left the idea of pacing to someone else. Big mistake!
But no time to worry, time to focus! We started and it was very congested and very slow. The half marathon started with us, and many racers (half and marathon alike) pretty much went to the front and started…walking. I spent a lot of time and energy weaving, because I am an idiot.
I felt tired right away- good omen eh? The first 10k were uneventful, I had some candy in my pockets and I ate those. It was hilly and winding, very congested. We wouldn’t lose the halfers until about KM 14 I think?
Because of how dangerous the heat could be, I made sure to stop at every.single.water.stop. No skipping- not even one. I don’t normally even go for water in a half, but I knew that could literally kill me this time. I respected the heat warning, and in fact got so hot I started grabbing multiple waters (one to drink, one to dump down my chest).
I was so thirsty. SO thirsty.
My pacing (despite not running tangents due to crowds) was fairly even up until the half way point. I caught a few too fast KMs (4:23s) and toned it down. I’m still so green at this distance…I know it can mess you up badly. By the time we got to the half way point I was hanging on, but also starting to feel concerned…and like maybe this was a bad idea… The tightness in my right hamstring really started to call out to me.
Hah, joke’s on me. It only gets worse from there on!
At around Km 33, the wheels in my brain fell off and I wanted to
b. leave the course immediately and probably
c. get hurt so I wouldn’t have to finish.
Sweat was pouring off me, my core temperature was going crazy and I just couldn’t think straight. I ate a few more Xact Nutrition bars (clumsily, with sugar crystals coating my face, the bar a mushy mess in my mouth) and just tried to hang.
I bounced around with one of my friends until I thought he left me in the dust. I was feeling lightheaded and hot, so hot. After KM 36 or so, it honestly felt like time was slowing down. Everyone was moving in slow-motion, arcing in front of me but still going too fast for me to catch up. My legs, arms, body wouldn’t go faster.
I also tossed an almost full water cup straight into the chest of a volunteer (sorry!) who was standing in front of the trash cans and didn’t move when I was mumbling excuse me as I ran by. There was someone running in a full rhino suit- can you believe it!! It was SO hot man. Woof.
It was pretty funny in retrospect!
I had this thought: Get to KM 39 and THEN you can fall apart.
But then I got there, and the finish seemed so close!! (until you realize it’s still like 3km of winding). Any small amount of hill that normally wouldn’t bother me seemed like Mt. Everest. I wanted to walk so badly, I even stopped at the final water aid station (2km left) to drink in hopes it’d power me further. On a regular day no way would I stop that late in the race!
Clearly I was desperate 😉
Ian was going to watch me and I planned to spy him, but when it came I was so zonked out that I couldn’t do anything but stare straight ahead, and breathe with my mouth open. Hah. He did the half marathon (and got a very solid time!).
My time! Finally! It was good too, 3:17:38 (chip)
I jogged weakly through the finish, saw a chair and sat in it for a bit, then got up and got my medal. The snack volunteers were like: You want a banana or an apple? And my brain was so destroyed that I couldn’t figure out wtf they were asking me. So, I ended up with a banana and then went to the next volunteer and got the apple bag- hah.
I hung around waiting for Ian, and when I couldn’t find him decided to start walking home gingerly. I spotted him in the field of the Legislature and I was soooo glad because then I could lean on him to hobble home! We got home, I couldn’t take my shoes off so I sat on the stairs so Ian could take them off. The aftermath was prettttty hideous. But I hopped in an epsom salt bath for 30 mins and listened to a podcast (Gidget kept coming in to check on me!! ha she is so sweet) and then we were up and walking back downtown to beer festival. Crazy eh? It was SO GOOD!!! I loved it! It was amazing.
And then I walked home feeling pretty drunk but probably just tired and lay on the grass for awhile. Good end to a good day. At that point I told Ian I was NEVER going to run another marathon ever.
We’ll see ??
Double the fun at Fairlawn Stables!
We took the opportunity to do a field trip on the weekend to try out our dressage trainer’s amazing new footing at her farm, Fairlawn. It’s also a gorgeous facility, so huge and spacious and bright so why not !?!
The ponies were…less than thrilled to see the trailer pull up again (Two WEEKS in a row?) but got onboard when we were there 🙂
And I said: Let’s do something FUN! That’s all I want to do now, lol. I only have less than a month left here, so let’s make the most of it and really enjoy ourselves, so that is the lesson we got- a pas de deux lesson with the two dudes!
And they are so cute together, I think they’re really figuring out how to rate with each other!! And Becky and I only forgot where we were going once or twice I think 😉 The horses picked it up faster than we did.
We then enjoyed a little cruise around the fields after, as they have a lovely little pond you can ride around. The boys were very well behaved, and it was just such a fun and chill atmosphere. Can you ask for any better? Plus the weather has been amazing lately…chilly today, but far, far above the seasonal temps for Oct. We’re stuck in the groundhog day of my dreams…An endless summer!
South Island Riding Club Gymkhana #2
Another fun day! Wow this fall has been sooo busy, I can’t keep up! This is a new club and I am loving their ethos- low key, supportive and fun 🙂 Oats and I are NOT fast but as English riders, we are welcomed and having a blast.
We did barrel racing (our weakest), pole bending, keyhole, surprise class and stake class. They were such fun and I borrowed hoof boots so Oats would be comfy this time. He was still very unhurried, lol, but he’s a solid citizen and very safe to show at this venue. Also, the Western horses all had a meltdown about the miniature x-rail in the keyhole lol so that was Oats’ time to shine!
We won the keyhole and might have won the surprise class (holding a lacrosse stick with a ball in it, you ride the stake pattern and on the way back, you deposit the ball from the lacrosse net into a basket!) Oats was a superstar about it 🙂
Love my boy! We also had our friends come, including Oats’ leasor, and it was really awesome to see everyone out again on such a gorgeous day.
I only drink when I’m drunk
Saw this on a Spotify playlist yesterday and man, I’m hooked.
Actually, I am not really drinking intentionally right now (trying to take a break, for health and you know, those reasons) but I have been very much enjoying my weekends, boozy or not 😉
We have had so many fun times, where to begin…We went to the Cobble Hill the other weekend and now it costs $10 to get in (not worth it) and it was a freaking ZOO with the most ill-behaved little monsters running around. I couldn’t handle it, ughh. I was overwhelmed and couldn’t manage to be in the same outdoors space as all of these little assholes running wild. NO THANKS. Yuck.
We didn’t stay that long, thankfully (and I cancelled my ideas to go to the Saanich Fair. Do that again? NOPE!). We then had approximately 100 errands to run, haha. Pick up a sweater I forgot at the horse show site, visit a cidery (Valley Cider, it was lovely!), go to Merridale too, and best of all- I bought the most insane Caesar possible. Friends, you haven’t lived until you have eaten the Coast Caesar!
Feast your eyes… And it did cost a cool $40, so maybe make it a once-in-a-lifetime treat eh?
And then on the Sunday, Ian and I did a long run of 24k and I got changed quickly and went to the James Bay BBQ with my friend Amaka. We listened to live music, I brought Gidget and we ate and ate and ate. Man! The BBQ was incredibly generous- as many jumbo dogs as you can eat (so, like I saved half of mine b/c i was too full), ice cream, freezies, bananas, cake, chocolate chip cookies. It was a feast!! What a great day 🙂
Ian and I also caught Phillips ‘Dino Sour’ patio party on a random Thursday. I got back early from my lesson and saw a biiiggg lineup…And almost bailed. But then we got in, and while it was busy, we ordered our drinks and got in, and out pretty quick. I had the Dino sour slushy and bought a few sleeves of the other random ‘dino sour’ flavours. One was a very hideous swampy-green cask-conditioned salted plum sour and wow did it look horrible! Tasted ok though.
Working Equitation Day 2: Redemption!
After my sad-sack ‘dressage’ test where Oats had a head tossing freakout, I forgot where I was going and he was spooking at everything, I was determined to just let it go. Ok fine, it sucked but I’m camping in a great spot, it’s super hot out and we have trails and a pond to swim in. It could be worse!!
So we trail rode, I focused on letting it go past me and I went for some more swims…Even going skinny dipping when everyone else who was finished for the weekend went on a night time trail ride. Daring eh?? HAh it was so refreshing, I slept amazingly well despite the really loud concert going on all night in a nearby farm (and they had huge tents, a professional sound system and everything!).
The next day of course I didn’t ride until… after 2pm. Was I hanging around, biting my nails, feeling hot and festering? NOPE! I was determined to actually enjoy my experience for once. I fed Oats, cleaned his stall, longed him in the morning (he was tired) and then I went on a little run to check out where the Cowichan Trail connected to where we were the day previous. Then I cooled off with a nice swim, packed up my gear and lazily went over to think about tacking up…to find they had accelerated the schedule! Yikes!
Ha but it was totally fine. We had lots of time still! So I tacked up, and felt fairly confident about the tracks I was planning. There was no real water obstacle, and no bank, both of which challenged Oats last year.
When it was our turn, I was fairly pleased with Oats, with the understanding that he was quite footsore on the rock hard grass, and some areas were worse than others- he couldn’t hold a good canter at all, and did a fair amount of ‘trantering’ where it was very hard. He was a good boy though and I couldn’t wait for my fav- the speed round!!
Oats is NOT fast, but he’s a canny little dude and gets really into it. When we had the speed round come up, he was great!! Of course we got absolutely blown out of the water by some of the other speedier riders and horses but he’s just SO fun 🙂 and I think he really enjoys it too!
We were in last place after our miserable dressage, and then first after Ease of Handling, to settle in second place out of three. Not bad for us and a great way to wrap up our show season. Go Oats!
Mr. Oats goes to a gymkhana!
Mid-August, we had the chance to go to a really fun little local gymkhana. And we are NOT western-style riders, but wanted to have fun, support some local grassroots events and check it out!
Oats was very much non-fast, but he was also a touch footsore, so he did his best and was a good boy until he had a freakout on the trailer coming home and almost killed all of us…UGH horses!!
Anyways we had a great time trying barrel racing, pole bending, pairs race (hah not really), keyhole. I would definitely go again.
Here’s our youtube links, enjoy! 🙂
BC Day Adventure!
We had FANTASTIC weather this August, so we headed up Island to visit my in-laws, and my new nephew too!
It was so warm we swam in the ocean, every day. It was heavenly, just divine 🙂
I also went on a 27-km run that was pretty miserable, as it was 30 deg, full sun, a long, hot day AND I hit the trails to escape some of the heat and ended up tripping and falling pretty dramatically, but hey- I didn’t even get hurt!
I wrapped up the run covered in dirt/dust, lol and Ian had to go looking for me because it took me forever to get back, those trails…Not fast!
Cowichan District Riding Club All-Pony Show!
Wow so we had a busy weekend and the horse show was a blast!!!
I loved watching all the adorable Welsh ponies, shetlands, minis, Fjords, New Forest Ponies and it was just so cool to be there. It was also an extremely HOT day, so we had to be very careful with the heat and the sun and old Oaty, who can tolerate things well but he is an animal and you have to respect their needs.
So, we parked it in the shade for a lot of the day, as it was a loooooooooong day, lol.
We got there early for the Sport Pony halter class, where Oats behaved himself fairly nicely, only getting a little irritated at the end of the class. He placed fourth in that one, and then it was time to tack up for our first u/saddle classes. We had a LONG wait, due to a class conflict. So, it started about an hour later than we thought…and I was getting hot hot hot! I hopped off and parked Oats in the shade.
Then it was our turn! We did the adult hunt seat equitation, where we rode well and the judge was very complimentary (the very kind Peter Holmes) but I got dinged hard for carrying an incorrect whip, whoops! And I am kicking myself, because I KNEW better lol. Doh!
Oh well, Oats was behaving himself perfectly 🙂
Next class: Hunter under saddle, and Oats was so good at it, and we placed first!
Next up was the hunter hack, and we had to jump two little fences. Video below: and of course, Oats was a star. We had a chance to warm up over it once, and it was set a little higher, maybe 18”? They knocked a rail off for the class itself, to Oats’ disappointment. Hah.
He was first that time too! Then our ‘suitable to be a dressage horse’ class, and we were second in it. Oats was getting hot and I was getting tired too. A long lunch break, and then we zipped over to ride the trail/agility class- and I messed it up, but it was fun! 🙂
Then our final classes of the day: Barrel racing and pole bending! I scratched the keyhole race, as I noticed Oats was getting too tired by the end of barrel racing, poor guy lol. We placed first in the pole bending!! Third in barrel race. 🙂
It was a super long day but the volunteers, competitors and sponsors were absolutely fantastic. Big kudos to everyone that kept the show running safely, well and happy!! We loved it!