Another one bites the dust! (Almost!)

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Clobbered the jump. Lesson to all- don’t jump ahead! 

Had a VERY close call with falling off in my jump lesson yesterday, but you know what? I was proudest of the fact that even though my ass ended up above the saddle on his neck, barely clinging on, I regrouped, got my head straight, and went out and RODE it. Competently and quietly.

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Now that’s more like it! 

Ok it was a little bit ‘Oats/Jesus take the wheel!’ but hey, we did it! It was definitely a challenge, mentally and physically, for both Oats and myself. Maxed out height for us, a triple combination, going downhill into the setting sun. Not easy for us, likely easy for others! Though don’t ask me to ride a whole course after that, ha. I was spent!

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It felt easy when we did it with small jumps,and then sure, put ’em up. GULP! 

The course itself rode really well, I was feeling really glad about it, but I know that I was in my mind starting to get amped about heading to the combination, as it was the final few fences on course.

As we rounded the corner, I started gunning Oats and went to jump up his neck, and he went NOPE! Guess again!

And I had to cling on, haha.

Luckily he is as honest as a summer day, so we gathered ourselves, and headed back out. I’m just really enjoying my horse. I learned the other day that my sister’s rabbit died (peacefully, in her sleep enjoying a snooze in the backyard) and I was surprised about how I almost cried when I read about it. I just can’t imagine losing another animal, and part of me grieves in advance for when I have to make that heartbreaking decision, or see it happen to one of my darling critters.

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I remember when I almost lost Oats to a serious choking accident.

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Even at his worst after that, every day is golden. Lucky to be here. Horse shows, jumps, dressage shows, they’re all bonuses. My chances to ride him, and enjoy him, are what really matter.

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go Oats go!! 

I do still want to work on my bravery, challenge, keeping my butt out of the saddle, improved straightness and leads. So many things! But I feel good and confident that we can do it. He’s my boy.

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So majestic! 

 

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Popular Manipulations: Jump jump!

So I am feeling MUCH better this week. Halleleujah!!!! The nausea and sore throat, coughing, cramps and general miserable-ness finally abated on Wednesday. Now I just randomly cough up horribleness and my nose runs, but hey, I’ll take it!

While my immune system was attacking me, I had a lot of time to feel awful and stew about it. That stewing made me take action- and I am making lots of appointments now to get on top of my health!

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From last week, when I was actually riding worse, ha. 

And my riding felt soooo much better last night- I had more energy, even though I protested about jumping the course for a third time and instead opted to just jump the 1 line and diagonal that I botched during my second round. Hey, baby steps right? We discovered that I am still riding quite defensively while on the slight ‘downhill’ leading to me kind of hunching with my shoulders, instead of wide open shoulders and elbows in, instead of chicken wings.

This affects my release and makes me feel defensive!

So, I’m writing this down to make sure the plan next week is ride a whole bunch of smaller fences…All going downhill. I am happy to say that I didn’t get left behind as much this week (phew!) and my brain didn’t fall out when we raised a few of the jumps (though they still looked small, ha. Why is that?!).

So, I am getting more comfortable with ‘riding’ my jumps and line in the outdoor but I have the occasional defensive hunch that happens when we are going downhill. I think practice and time will fix that, in fact I feel pretty confident that it will!

Oats was a good boy as always, even when the wind picked up and it got really grey and rainy out! I was SO OVER riding in the rain by that time hahaha and just wanted to be done! 😉

Nothing really gets him excited, haha.

Resist much, obey little

My husband clued me into Walt Whitman last night and darned if I’m not really enjoying delving deeper! This has been a difficult week, not for work reasons but just for life/physical reasons. I’m still holding out some hope for a better conclusion, but in the meantime, the sage words of Walt Whitman hold some consolation.

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I have an excellent weekend to look forward to at least!

And I had a good (but definitely challenging and not great) riding lesson last night. My physical struggles this week manifested in my ride- I could hold things together for a bit, and then BOOM! Forget how to ride. I rode a very good first course, and then when the jumps went up, my brain fell out. Sorry Oats!

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Why do the jumps look big when you’re jumping and then small in video??

This meant we had some stops, about 3-4 jumps where Oats rode magnificently and I just…Didn’t ride and got left behind, spectacularly.  I was having a brain-body disconnect.

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Oh well, you can’t win them all and this week? I got out alive so I’m winning. I was fortunate enough to have my friend use her Pixio, and she let me borrow it to videotape my rides. It is SO COOL!!! Like having a robot film you the whole round! I am very impressed- how neat is that technology? It’s amazing!! And the quality/picture quality is so good, considering how bad the light is at that time of night (sun glare all the time).

 

Love and appreciate Mr. Oats

Boldness comes from confidence and confidence comes from success.

Quote by Jack LeGeoff, a very famous showjumper. And I have to say…He’s right. I was musing on this verbally with my trainer last night. I have had long-standing anxiety/fear issues with jumping (even though I love it!!) and it’s taken me a long, long time to let my body and brain be okay with what I’m doing- jumping! Years and years at 2′ basically.

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Screengrab my trainer took- Oats cantering 2’9” like a little pro! Can you believe we TROTTED this in our warm-up? Me either! 

In some aspects I look back and am like, man why did it take that long? But that’s basically the same emotion as finishing a solid personal-best style race and muttering, ‘Why couldn’t I have gone just a little bit faster?’ It doesn’t serve anyone.

What does serve is being appreciative and happy with the progress you/I have made. Taking it jump by jump, lesson by lesson, and day by day. I don’t really take it for granted (much…It’s still a human instinct apparently).

Anyways, my trainer announced she was going to have me do something yesterday that she knew I’d really hate- trot jumps. Ughhh!! Even better, we were going to play the ‘how high can you go’ with a trot jump?! I was like, oh this is going to be good… But I played along! Part of my anxiety in the past wouldn’t let me just try things, and I’m ready to try now.

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Another, less fabulous screengrab- a fail on my part, a too-close distance for Oats over the oxer. We had to re-ride this (and it went fantastic!) 

So we trotted in! We started with a canter x-rail, and then moved it to a very small (under 2ft) vertical for the trot in. We did a few trot in, and up it went! And then up it went again and we went SPLAT for one jump- I kind of pushed and then pulled and couldn’t make up my mind to leave him alone to it, haha. And then to 2’6”! Wha? I got with the rhythm a bit better, and figured things out, and we called it quits…Until I said go to 2’9”- I know we can do it. And the first time, I got nervous and did the ‘Go-no wait, no canter, now go!’ And I did confuse the poor pony but he bobbled up to it and flew over! We had to do it again, and this time I TROTTED and didn’t get all nervous and grabby. 🙂 YAY Oats!

It felt like a ‘Oats/Jesus take the wheel!’ moment but it was excellent for the both of us. For me, to understand that jumping bigger fences and ‘waiting’ not rushing or driving at them is a-ok and totally fine. For Oats, he was pushing off his hind end more equally. Win-win! And a bonus- when we went to canter it for our second course, it felt pretty darn easy.

That’s not to say our courses were foot-perfect (hahah no) we got in way too close on our second round to the rocks and to the oxer, so we had to ride them again. But you know what? I just love and appreciate the ‘try’ my pony exhibited in the whole ride, his willingness, and the mind/mental freedom I had to give these new and scary things a go.

Moment by moment, I just really am feeling this little guy more and more now.

We all want the same things: Comox Half-Marathon Race Recap!

Alternate title: (nothing hurts like a bruised ego part #2 and a visit to physical therapy the day after a race).

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Second in my age-group, and I picked up my missing Cedar 12k gold medal too. Ian won a sweet door prize- a growler & fill from Forbidden Brewing Co.!!

So yeah I am in a world of hurt today, AND also my race on Sunday up Island in Comox was…Less than glorious, haha. I wasn’t super optimistic about it, given high stress levels for the past few weeks, absolutely heinous allergies (ongoing), and just feeling kind of beat-down. Nothing glaring, just not feeling super optimal. And I was kind of right, haha.

It was very much a sub-optimal race. I remembered last year and was thrilled with my time then- it felt GREAT!!! And I was rocking it!! I tried to keep that in mind and things just sort of started…Falling apart. It was weirdly warm- much warmer than I thought it was going to be. I immediately started sweating heavily and thought, ‘oh great I’m hot already…’ Unusual for this time of year and I was wearing shorts even- that NEVER happens!

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Photo courtesy of Joseph Camilleri, featuring the gentleman that matched me and kept my pace honest at least! 🙂

The first few KM’s I ran fast, but not ‘super’ fast…I recalled the ongoing rolling hills to the turnaround at 10-11km, but what I didn’t remember was the entire way up from like 4-9 is also rolling hills, so I kind of went up and up and up! Hm.

My pace started kind of sucking and I thought well, that’s ok. If I can hang on now, I can make it up on the back end (newflash- I couldn’t).

Went around the turnaround and thought ok here it goes!!! Big burst of speed!! Ahahahaha nope. In my mind I was running fast, in reality, I wasn’t even making up what I had lost. It was kind of demoralizing. I felt hot and kind of nauseous the entire way back. My stomach was churning- not terribly but I just felt strange and not dialed in. We ran to about 16-17KM and the wheels started falling off for me. I felt lightheaded and my legs felt so tired, so heavy. No matter what I was doing, I couldn’t go fast?! I grabbed some E-lite drink and choked on it for a good few minutes. Shoot!

I was running neck and neck with another guy and he even waited when I was choking, to see if I was all right. Hahah nice eh? We were both pretty deep into the pain train…

At 18km I thought yes here ‘s the big push! Andd….flat legs. Each Km was about 5:00/km, which was far slower than I wanted or expected (here’s the ego part again). It clearly wasn’t happening for me yesterday. I tried as hard as I could, and I didn’t have it. I was gasping for breath, and just couldn’t do it.

We finished at 1:36:28, which was far slower than last year but again, I think many of us had the same race and were riding the struggle bus too. I placed 2nd in my age group (which is funny because I was 5th last year with a better time!). And my stomach was just miserable after, took me awhile to settle long enough to enjoy the fantastic chili and snacks that they had on offer. I still think Comox has the BEST after-race spread, hands-down. 😉

Many thanks to the fine volunteers, cheering squads and food servers- they really make this race something special! Even with all my whining and moaning, it was a gorgeous and warm day, and nice to be outside. Today hurts though, and to add the pain I had a great idea to get some active release done on my hip injury and glutes…Woww. Let’s just say I’m glad THAT is over. Yeesh.

 

 

Burn me: Race Recap Pioneers 8k!

To be completely honest, I did not have great expectations

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At the start. Photo courtesy of Ceevacs Lois D’Ell. 

leading up to this race. I felt exhausted, beat down from near-constant coughing at night and in the morning. *It was truly horrendous just ask my husband, yuuuck.

Anyways, I was tired, feeling wimpy, coughing my lungs out and just…tempered my goals for this race. I couldn’t really even remember what my time was last year, just that I remembered it being a pretty decent time on the new course, during heinous rain and freezing temps.

Well, I am happy to say after a weekend spent coughing my lungs out and basically sitting on the couch/alternating with taking my dog out on walks, I was ready to race! The weather was GORGEOUS!! Oh man, polar opposite of last year in every way. Sunny, warm, no wind, not rainy, just amazing. I was so happy with that, I kind of figured ehhh we’ll see how this race goes.

My cough had somewhat subsided a bit to a low irritating hack every so often sooooo success?!! I trawled my way to the start and waited with my husband in the squish of other runners. It was pretty crowded, a bigger race attended by quite a few local elites and Olympians. We were off, and I zipped off. I definitely got lulled a bit by the pace- because there are so many fast runners, I didn’t realize how fast I really was going- everyone was sticking super tight. In other races, I tend to lose runners/get passed/some give and take. In this one? Boxed in for close to the entire race, at a pace that I am definitely ‘not comfortable’ at.

My first KM was ridiculous, and I misread my watch (I thought it said something like 4:56, instead it was 3:56..yikes). So I thought ok either way I’ll hammer through (people were sticking to me like glue by this point so I figured it wasn’t that fast). My next was something like 4:16? Ok ok…I see where this is going. Fast.

I lost a lot of impulsion (ha using horse terms here) on a very slight rise going up to 4k and the turnaround, leading to a 4:24 or so. The turnaround came up and I felt pretty darn good!!

And then hit a very gentle hill and lost all of it again, ha. 4:32 for that one. Ahhh well.

I held it pretty strong until like 6km..and then I felt like I was dying. I couldn’t believe how rough those last 2kms felt, oh man. My cough was dormant, but I had this sneaking feeling that if I breathed too deeply or started coughing, I would not be able to stop. As it turns out, I was right about this!

I hung on by my freaking fingernails, knowing my pace in the early parts of the race were indeed too fast and boy was I paying for it! I got passed- a lot. My finish was weak, and as soon as I stopped I couldn’t catch my breath and felt like I was going to puke. Instead, I started coughing horribly and couldn’t stop for oh, and hour or so. Lovely.

We had some awesome pizza and chocolate milk as our after-race snack (thank you for hosting, Prairie Inn Harriers!) and I was coughing my lungs out the entire time. God. As it turns out, I pulled an intercostal muscle in my ribs from the coughing and am now in a fair amount of pain when I cough, sleep, move too much, ughhhhh.

I just hope my next few races aren’t this rough, jesus! I haven’t had a smooth race in quite a while, haha. Injury, illness and now a mild injury part #2. Shit!!

Oh well, that’s life I guess. I was happy with my time though! 🙂

Way Yes

I had a very nice weekend- still managing some difficult aspects of life, but I feel like I’m hopefully taking the route that leads to me feeling better about it. This weekend I had a LOT of great friend time, me time, horse time, run time and everything!

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We remember.

Friday I had a dressage lesson – where we worked on a canter exercise. It was tough! I had to cut the lesson a bit short to run out to the Westshore for my friend and namesake’s birthday celebration 🙂

Saturday, riding and running. My ligament injury is not 100% but slowly improving run by run. It was a bit painful and ‘tugging’ on my run, but you know what, it was better than it has been- so I’ll take it!

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Just a good day- photo by Lindsay. 

Saturday night was visiting with friends- I brought dessert and drank some (a lot?) of wine. Haha. This was in preparation for Sunday’s big event…Bringing the horses to THE BEACH!! Yes, in November?! Hahaha. It was great though. They managed to keep their hair on mostly, Oats was a bit anxious and nippy with some of the other horses, and he spooked at a dog, but yeah for it being November, cold and windy, and a bunch (6 total) of horses? Very good. 🙂

Got home in the afternoon and had to get ready to host in-laws at our place for dinner. Busy busy! It was a lovely evening and the dinner my husband made was fantastic! I also drank a lot of wine, hahahah.

Monday- counseling session to work on some of the issues that have been challenging me this week- it was productive, and I had a better idea of where things went wrong recently. Hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it? I didn’t ride, but Oats got to cruise around the indoor while we were talking and chill out. He also had a farrier appointment. Another busy day! So glad to have Monday off, phewww.

And that brings me to today- where I am trying to be more relaxed, present in my surroundings, and not taking myself, my health or my abilities, for granted.