Kismet Kill

Ugh, so on Friday I wrote about getting stuck in a big traffic jam due to accidents on the highway? Well, apparently last week was Groundhog Day, because the EXACT SAME THING happened on Friday also. Just as I was walking home, to get dressed and go to the stables for my riding lessons. Thankfully my friend got caught in it, and immediately called me to tell me to cancel my ride and not bother heading out- it was THAT bad.

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You are never so good that you don’t need to practice. 

For what seemed like a minor incident (all persons were fine, car went off the road into a ditch), traffic was at a totally-jammed up standstill until around 7pm. SEVEN?! Ugh.  No way. Not after literally getting stuck for 2 hours the exact day before…And I knew my trainer was not going to wait around another hour ++ for me to get there, get tacked up, warm up Oats and then ride. Nobody has time for that!

So I texted and cancelled, steaming mad at this happening for two freaking days in a row…And sat around home and watched TV. Which is fine, but like… What GIVES? Last week it was the bad weather/snowstorms, this past week it was major traffic jams two days in a row. Cut me some slack, world!

Plus I took my parents out for a lovely good bye lunch on Thursday, had a nice time, and then get this emotionally-hostage taking email from my dad, on Monday of course. Seems that if you give him too much time to think, he writes these insane 15 paragraph emails about how he wishes the lunch didn’t feel so sterile, that I treat them like strangers (no shit!!!), and that it felt like a going away lunch you have with coworkers. Jesus god, give me strength.

Anyways, rant over. I am resolutely NOT buying into this drama-rama that they alwayyyys pull with me.

They absolutely exhaust me.

Anyways, I didn’t ride on Saturday because Oaty’s leasor had a make up lesson and boy did that feel weird! I was all out of sorts and anxious because of the lesson I cancelled on Fri due to the traffic jam, and no riding until Sunday? But I miss him!! Instead I cleaned the deck, and took Gidget to play with sticks on the beach, where we saw a ton of cop cars…There was a wolf in James Bay!! In the afternoon where I was! Crazy eh?

I then finally got to ride my dear Oats on Sunday after my race and we did our ‘homework’ rides (jump xpoles until the cows come home..) and he was a superstar!! I noticed I am becoming too ‘rigid’ with my arms, so I wanted to make sure I made time to practice my homework again. You can never work on it too much, I think. Plus the weather was fabulous this weekend- lucky us!!

Not Myself

Having another ‘bummed, bummed, bummed, bummed’ day. The weather is GORGEOUS and amazing and I want to run and ride alll day in it, and yet I’m in the freaking doldrums right now? How? Why? How?

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I was on top of the world!

Let’s start with my mysterious hip/groin/leg pain. Still there, still very painful. I ran home yesterday and it felt like my pelvic floor was going to fall out. Lovely. Because I am a stubborn bugger, I also ran to work today: More of the same. What’s that thing about insanity..something something? UGHHH.

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I mean it! On top! (Photo courtesy of MEC Victoria).

I did go to the doctor’s today and it took forever but I have requisitions for an x-ray and blood test, both of which I am going to do this week. Round and round and round we go! What the diagnosis is, nobody knows!!

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Things were going SO well! 

I missed my lunch workout, because of being at the doctors (yay…not.) but that’s ok, because I am in a terrible mood, still in some measure of pain (try standing on one leg to put shoes on, I dare you body!) and then got some more bad news re- husband. Man, when they pick a day to shit on you, they sure do pick the same day! (Not husband himself, just he got some crappy news and I feel bad for him, on his behalf).

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Having just the BEST times! 

So…yeah. I am taking advil like it’s my actual job, and trying not to think angry thoughts about the world. I had a fantastic couple of months, so when the hits keep coming, I want to come back to those days when I was on top of the freaking world, instead of slowly being ground under it instead. Sigh.

This was like, as recently as last week too, hahah.
Dammit, how things change quickly!

 

Heartstruck: Riding/jump updates!

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My Halloween wreath went up. I love it!!

This week hasn’t been overly busy with rides, on Monday I had an equine counselling session, in which we recapped life events (great!!) and worked a bit on my increasingly iffy two-point. Why the windmill leg? Tipping forward? And why does it get highlighted so much in the indoor? All good questions…So I lengthened my stirrups 1 hole (gasp!) and am going to proceed with that for awhile.

Tuesday I just hacked Oats around, playing with counter-canter positioning. Bad- me leaning forward to get it. Good- him actually trying!

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Poor Gidget waiting wistfully for us to get back to the car at the barn.

Thursday was our jump lesson and man, I miss jumping in the outdoor! Oats was a bit balky/stuck behind my leg, so I had a few ‘reminders’ via my crop behind my leg. I found that when he sucks back around the corners- and there are a lot of them in the indoor- I want to tip forward, sending my leg swinging back. Interesting. This was also highlighted in the video my trainer took last week too.

So, all good things to work on. We focused primarily on small jumps, with related distances (forward -3 or quieter 4, I obviously went for the 4 each time, b/c Oats was Not. Having. It. for forward yesterday). I was actually pretty happy, even though we definitely biffed a few lines/jumps. Ha.

We did have to go re-do a line b/c he should have been picking up the right lead (he was doing it correctly ALL lesson, he never ever used to voluntarily pick up the right lead, even if we were circling a jump on the right. Yeah!! And so when we re-did the bending line, I focused harder on trying to land right (didn’t happen) but he did try to get a flying lead in 3 strides (didn’t- was disunited) but we landed and he DID pick up the right lead. Progress!

So, not better than ever but butter than we used to be. And that is ok! The weather has been fabulous, and I am feeling better this week for sure. 🙂

VIRA’s Comox Half-Marathon Race Recap!

Wow, where to begin? I was definitely gunning for a better time at this race. My previous half-marathon in the fall showed me I am capable of more (I ran a trail half at 1:40), which very much surprised me. I was coming out of my year-long racing funk and things were looking up!!

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Photo by Comox Valley Road Runner’s Jim Hockley.

I haven’t traditionally had great times at the Comox Half-Marathon. Our first time running it, I was so new to the distance we raced it at over two hours! Crazy eh? (2:05 as I check back with Raceday Timing). It hurt, it was hard and I wasn’t sure about this longer distance at all.

But, things improved. Piece by piece. The year after, we ran it at 1:45, which was HUGE for me. Wow! But that’s when things started to plateau/actively get worse for me in my body. I struggled last year with my breathing. For some reason, my VO2 Max seemed to get a lot worse and I was frequently gasping for breath. It felt like someone was squeezing my chest. I couldn’t get enough air, and almost collapsed at a pretty horrible race, in what felt like the penultimate bad decision…

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Real close up to the finish- Photo by Comox Valley Road Runner’s Jim Hockley.

Anyways, so my times at Comox last year reflected this, somewhat. I raced at a 1:44, which to anyone looks like success eh? Well, numbers don’t show everything, do they. I wasn’t happy about it, but then my Halloween Half Marathon with MEC showed me that hey, I was getting over this bout of weirdness!! Yeah!

And now…how did this race go? The big one?

It went GREAT!! I started cautiously (relatively…It still felt so fast to me) while I ran the first 9km between 4:30-4:45 at the worst end on the longer hill). People who I typically race around took off like a shot! I felt anxious about this. I couldn’t even see them anymore…Yikes.

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Very determined to the finish. Photo by Comox Valley Road Runner’s Jim Hockley.

But, the half is a much longer race, so I had time. So I hung on, and carefully watched and ran conservatively. It was amusing, because in my ‘careful’ pacing I ran with several other runners who were maybe at their max earlier…And I could hear them plotting to catch up to and pass me. And they did! But…I kind of knew they weren’t going to be able to hang on to that and it was at like, 2km. Soooo yeah, slow down guys. It’s a long race 😉 And I am a crafty person.

So I kind of laughed to myself and focused more on running a strategic race. It came to a head at 9-10.5km/the turnaround, when I was playing a bit of leapfrog with a runner who was starting to irritate me (well, and me to him probably). I knew I could outpace him, but I wanted to push him a bit, see where this was going. You can guess, he ran up, passed me, I dogged him a little…He clipped my heels when I managed to make another pass, I let him go ahead, and then dogged him…And then around the turn I blasted off!!

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Photo by Comox Valley Road Runner’s Jim Hockley.

Goodbye! I wasn’t running at my maximum at all!

I did not see this runner again. But now it was my turn to really max out my race. It was also a very long downhill stretch (my right knee is NOT GOOD today because of this….yeesh). But I could use it, and I sure did! I clocked km’s at 4:17 and 4:12, which shocked the hell out of me. Wha? I can and am doing this?

I started catching up to the runners I usually race with. They had been so far ahead I hadn’t even seen them the whole race and here I was, coming up behind. It felt really good!

I rocked the ‘faster than usual for me’ pace up until oh, 17-18 km which is traditionally a real dead zone for this race. It’s flat, lots of cars (an open course) gravel, and just…soooooooooo long.

My pace faltered a bit, but you know what? I didn’t stress and fuss. I picked off another few runners coming up the last few KM’s, which again surprised me. Usually I am getting passed at this point.

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Ian and my ribbons. The couple than runs together 😉

I was wishing I had grabbed another Gatorade drink at the 17km marker. It was really nice out, warm, sunny and I was getting hot and thirsty. Oh well! I came over the bridge, lost some momentum doing that, and then began the long run to the finish. I was so happy, people were calling to me ‘Go girl, get it!!’ 🙂 YESSS!! I got it!

I finished smiling, with a 1:34:55 for my personal best in the half, good enough for 5th place in my age-group and 11th woman finisher. A great race, well-run with over 100 generous volunteers, good cheering sections and the best food around! I enjoyed the chili and cheese and bread very much.