I myself am good fortune: Okanagan Sunrype race recap!

Ok you guys, I did it- I made my debut back into running! This weekend was one of firsts for both of us- Ian ran his first marathon (debuting with a smoking-fast 3:15!!) and I was able to heal enough to finish a 10k- my first race in months and first successful long-ish run! Yeah!!

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A really well organized race. One for the books! 

We were at the Okanagan Sunrype Marathon (marathon weekend offered a 5k on Saturday, a 10k, half and full-marathon on Sunday), and we had the BEST logistics. Our hotel (the Prestige) was across from the City Park where the race, bib pick up and start/finish lines/awards were. How amazing is that?!!!

Unfortunately I was not feeling amazing- last week was literally death by a thousand cuts..

Monday- hideous cramping, bloating, bleeding, nausea that ruined an entire day.

Tuesday- stomach not feeling great due to the day before. My ovaries felt like someone had been punching them with knives… Oats decided he would also run away from me after my ride, and spent quite awhile racing outside the indoor arena in the freaking pitch black…Stupid horse!

Wednesday- getting a cold

Thursday- sick

Friday- off, and cramps, and nausea make a comeback along with crushing fatigue and bleeding, and still sick. YAY? Shoot me.

Saturday- cramps, bloating and bleeding, still sneezing and nose running to beat the band. Feeling kind of defeated the day before the race, but luckily our drive up to Kelowna was uneventful. We had a lovely dinner with Ian’s sister, who lives in Kelowna now and will be there for a few months.

Sunday- race day!!! I had ZERO expectations. Ha, none. From feeling completely miserable due to chronic health problems (ovaries), to being sick with a cold, and having oh, a good 2.5 weeks of actual running led me to severely limit my hopes.

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The gang! 

The race was good though! I struggled my way to the front, as the start chute was quite narrow. Some real fasties there, but it definitely thinned out to the front. I started out strong, and immediately passed a few women who were just slightly out ahead of me. I don’t normally pass people that quickly, so I was surprised. I’m more of a slow-burner…And here I was, in front of people at KM 4. Wha?

I reeled in another woman, and then this other guy and I played piggyback, until he definitely passed me at the finish, ha. I had no kick, and I could definitely tell that I was not that fit…It was exhausting! My sinuses hurt and I had a racking ‘run cough’ at the end. BUT I was very happy with how the race itself went, and pleased with my time- 44:32, which is a humble time but I guess ok for this race- I placed third AG and third overall. Sweet eh?

I had time to zip back to the hotel- excellent location! And grab my dog for the awards ceremony. A nice bronze medal for me 🙂

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Look at him go! 

And then it was time to cheer on Ian as he finished- and he did it!! He is officially a marathoner. A good, solid weekend for the two of us, for very different reasons. We then celebrated with a bottle of champagne in the hotel room with his sister, and went on a small ‘brewery’ crawl to try out the many, many breweries that Kelowna had to offer.

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Time to celebrate! 

The only fly in the ointment…The weather was TERRIBLE after the race, ha. Rainy, cold and there was basically a blizzard driving home the next day. Yikes. DO NOT want to repeat that drive anytime soon…

 

 

“You are the kind of guy who always hopes for a miracle at the last minute.”

I did it!! I still have shoulder pain, and it was pretty bad last night AND freaking shin splints (that is bothering me the most right now. Funny timing, that.) BUT I was able to have and enjoy a jumping lesson last night.

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Christi came and took these amazing photos. So good! 

That’s right- one week out after my accident Oats and I are a team together, flying over (small) fences and kicking butt!! He was such a saint, too. We had a few weeks off with his sudden lameness, cancelled the show, and he was off last week when I had my accident. July was kind of a perfect storm for us, I am realizing.

I am hopeful that August will be better, and you know what? It already is. My scrapes are healing, I think my shin splints should clear up soon-ish (still, ouch.) and Oats is BACK baby!!!

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Photos courtesy of Christi.

I did feel anxious about the lesson. It’s been a few weeks, Oats hasn’t jumped in…Three weeks? Me either? I’m recovering from an accident? I have a hard time being kind to myself. It seems like pushing myself too hard, due to some deep lurking insecurity is my default mode. Not now. Not this time. I’m not interested in wallowing. For me, pushing too hard was a way of wallowing!

Being mentally stronger means I am ok with taking time off (god this is almost impossible for me). So I am scaling things back for a few weeks. I have also enjoyed the emotional and other type of support from my husband, my horse friends and colleagues. they get it…It’s hard. Plus my friends bought me the fancy new pink boots featured in photos today- I have been waiting WEEKS to debut his pink outfit! 😉 I LOVE Oats in pink.

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Liverpool? What liverpool? Oats is the most casual pony on the planet.

I am still just riding a high. I’m jumping my best pony again. Things are gooooood. He was great last night, just basically, ”Snooze…I got this mom. You sit tight and I’m fine.” Love that he’s so low-key. Phew! What a golden boy. I wanted to jump higher, but I was afraid too. I was feeling a bit anxious and worried about jarring my injured shoulder. So, I was careful with myself, and didn’t let my ego dictate. There will always be more days to jump high, you know?

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I got this mom. It’s easy. 

When you start at the beginning, you have to go slow. You have to learn how to do it all over again (something like the quote from ‘Bright Lights Big City’….) And you can’t rush that process.

Low maintenance (and yet I still wish to be maintained)

I  had a really interesting chat/session with a friend yesterday (in lieu of me going to the gym at lunch, which is my preferred routine). Because I am still recovering from some of my minor injuries (shoulder, the scrapes on my hands, knee and elbow, now with added bonus of shin splints), I figured I needed to take more time off from working out that I wanted to.

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Healing! This was on Friday.

So we met and had a great conversation! I was kind of struggling mentally with the (relatively minor) setback I had recently, so it was really nice to talk about this stuff with someone who can help me ‘reframe’ what is going on in my head, and help me make a plan for my future rides, and runs, where I’m not running through disaster scenarios in my head, or reliving tripping and falling. If I am being honest, I had falling nightmares after Thursday. All I could feel when I was trying to sleep was this scary ‘rocked’ feeling?

Ugh.

And this weirdly triggered some pretty intense riding anxiety. A ‘physical’ anxiety, if you will? When I went to ride Oats, and he was lame (and now sound), I just couldn’t deal. Physically I’m not even badly hurt, but for some reason it felt serious, like wow…I could get hurt doing this (riding, running, whatever) in a way that doesn’t feel real most days. Or at least, I don’t care.

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This one started healing really early!

Now I do. For now anyways!

I have to tone it WAY down this week. My shin splints hurt so badly this morning I limped to work. That was idiotic. I’m making the big step to walk home from work (can’t run), and get a lift in tomorrow, which is strangely difficult for me to swallow. I don’t WANT to get a lift in? I want to run.

I’m clearly still healing, and this is hard for me to take.

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this one remains the grossest. Not that painful, but it got stuck to my breeches. YUCK.

So my friend and I worked on a plan for my rides (mentally mostly) to make sure that when I go out to ride, I do not bring this negative, ‘triggering’ mentality with me. I’m looking for fun, easy, happy, positive rides. Productive? Sure, can be. But is it fun? That’s the most important.

I had to work on this mindset last night, I was back in the indoor (I am VERY afraid of bringing back his weird 2-week lameness???) so I have been riding in the indoor. Plus my shoulder is messed up, and I have on and off numbness in my foot from the freaking shin splints. You should see me dismount…It’s not pretty. Lots of cringing, and a slowwww slide off Oats.

It’s not as fun, but whatever. He was very good, nice floaty trot, but he was heavier on my hands, draggy through transitions, whatever. Typical Oats stuff. But if/when I’m having kind of a tougher day mentally, this sets me off into a ‘perfection’ spiral, if you know what that means?

Luckily I had JUST worked on defusing and moving on that morning. So I did that! I didn’t get tense, clench up on him, anxious or anything. If I felt like we were getting too ‘into’ it and intense, I moved on and did stretchy trot. I thought ‘calm’ and ‘moving on’ when it got too much. Plus I smiled! I miss riding. 😉

It’s weird that a physical pain (falling) translates into me being extra-anxious and hard on myself and my horse…But that’s kind of where I am. I’m working my way back, and I feel hopeful that we can do it! I want to be challenged, I want to have fun. I want to learn, try, fail, achieve and succeed again. I miss that (and honestly, it’s only been like 3 weeks. Hah!).

But did you die?

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Not promising.

Oh lord, I am going to stop tempting fate. I have seen a few dear colleagues, friends and family get pretty seriously injured recently doing benign things (walking to the bus, stubbing a toe on a cabinet, tripping over a tree root while out on a run…) and I thought I could escape it, until it was MY TURN! 😦

I was kind of in a deep well of self-pity last week. Work was absolute nuts, we have been going through a pretty big upheaval (and I do not handle change well), my birthday while fun, also kind of sucked because Oats was lame…Just, everything, you know?

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Getting cleaned up.

I should have known better.

I got too freaking cocky about my running, literally bragging to my friend about how I ‘never take rest days’…yeah, newsflash, bad idea…and I ended up with shin splints last week that really hurt, still do actually, but wait, there’s more!

I got my shin splints treated on Thursday, ok and then was running home along Dallas Rd, where there has been ongoing construction since I moved there (and I hate it. ugh) and I was keeping my eyes open for the construction, they had closed one road down and had a water truck parked on the side street, where I was running. And then…BOOM!

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This one is one of the slower to heal. 

I went FLYING. Like a cartoon character. While I saw the construction and the water truck, I didn’t see the hose coming from the water truck (small, grey) going directly across the road, from where I was coming off the sidewalk to cross the side-street. I saw an elderly man trip, and for a split second I wondered what he had tripped on…And then I was a goner.

I hit the ground hard, hands outstretched. I think that’s what saved my teeth, nose and chin. I slid on a patch of gravel for about a foot, and then landed with my face on curb. I was just stunned….Shocked, I leapt up. A construction worker ran over to me and was asking if I was ok, and I angrily yelled that I was. I wasn’t though. I was shocked, and stunned and hurt.

I was in shock and I staggered up, and started walking home. I briefly stopped to consider the free book library that I wound up next to, but realized that my hands were bleeding onto the ground, and I was hurt. I fished my phone out of my bag and left a crying voicemail for Ian to pick me up (I SO didn’t want to creep home, looking insane, covered in dirt and blood…) and a kind lady was walking ahead of me heard me, turned around, saw me and took pity on me.

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This one bled the most, and looked the worst. My shoulder is still not very good on this side. 

She escorted me to the seniors residence she was going to nearby, and I got washed up and called Ian again to pick me up. He got it this time and I luckily didn’t have to wait for too long.

I had a lot of scrapes, cuts and bruises, but it was kind of a miracle that nothing was broken, my nose, teeth and chin were all ok, fingers and wrists too. My shoulder still hurts quite a bit, and I don’t have great range of motion in it either. All my other cuts and bruises are healing. I had to take Friday off work because I was frankly in too much pain to be at work- I made it like 2 hours, and basically I got a tetanus shot, came home and cried for the rest of the afternoon. I had a lot of trouble with my hands- the open cuts made it very hard to grasp things. It was not a good day for me. I was in a very dark place.

But, things turn around. Saturday, I felt like 1 big headache. Everything hurt, ached terribly, BUT my scrapes were knitting together. It was just a big painkiller day for me, and I was walking gingerly. I really didn’t want anything to jostle my bad shoulder, and I needed Ian to help dry me off from the shower because the towel was sticking to my hand sores.

But by evening on Saturday, my sores already looked better. My friends were surprised I was healing so fast! So I am healing, and feeling better bit by bit, and I am back at work today. I still can’t use the gym (sore shoulder, and open sores still) as well as the ever-present shin splints, but I am hopeful that things should settle and improve even by tomorrow.

No Stranger: Ride/jump/life

As we wrap up November (tomorrow is Dec 1? Wha??) I’m happy to say this has been a pretty good week! I rode tons which I’m sure Oats didn’t really appreciate, but he did get a lot of good, consistent work. Did poles on Sunday, flatwork on Monday/Tuesday and a jump lesson last night (Thursday). He was so good on Thursday! We even had the oxers go up to 2’6”, and I guess the full course was somewhere around that too? Except for a x-rail on the circle. He was excellent! What a great boy!

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Oats was jumping even better than this (from a few years ago).

I’ve been learning to let go jumping, and I think he is really responding well to it. As well, I’ve been slowly healing my ligament injury that I received back in Oct., and as I build my fitness back up, I think I am better able to respond as a rider, as the rider that Oats needs. It helps that I am not in pain when I ride, and I feel ‘stronger’ and more capable and less awkward and vulnerable.

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Someone is SO getting this for Christmas…

And on the injury front, I went to another rehab session on Thursday and I am very happy to say that I’m almost completely healed! It went well, was less painful that in the past (though I am apparently a huge wimp, because damn, it is still kind of painful?!!) and I’m hearing that now I need one re-check on the shockwave treatment in a month, and other than that, just monitor as needed. 🙂 YESSSS!!!!

So I’m going forward on a maintenance-only schedule, and I will go back if I end up in pain again, but otherwise…It’s all good news. Thank god! And he said I was probably fine to ramp up my activity (though he added in that it sounded like I was probably doing that anyways…Hah, right I was. I have to try!).

So, some good news this week for sure. Feeling good and happy with it! And very pleased with my Oats. What a good pony.

Destroyer

Had a very quiet weekend, did a little riding, a little running (one day almost pain free, the other day quite painful, but hey, I’ll take it!). And cue the ominous music…family drama rears it’s ugly head again.

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Photo courtesy of MEC Victoria- in pain, but still going! 

Damn, and here I thought I’d gotten out unscathed. I did have a dear friend help me out today, when I was kind of spiraling. What a lovey person!

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Winner’s circle- 5k second place, with a friend in third place! 

Oh well, push all you want- you’ll push me away for good.

An interesting quote to sum up how I am feeling:

The more dysfunctional, the more some family members seek to control the behavior of others.    

Shockwave

Therapy, that is. Ugh. I am still very much injured (current diagnosis is a muscle tear in my abdomen wall, near some particularly spirited ligaments that pull horribly on my pubic nerves…). 😦

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Photo thanks to my friend Katie! All snuggles for Mr. Oats.

I injured it three weeks ago, and it’s been on and off painful since. The only things that really aggravate it are running, and riding, natch! Which I do every day? Dammit. I am still trying to ride and run but the running is so painful that I definitely have been toning it wayyyyy back. I even downgraded a half marathon that I was supposed to do to a 5k, which was still VERY painful to run. Man.

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At least my pony loves me! Photo thanks to Katie H. 

Riding this week was pretty good, had a dressage lesson on Friday that was quite humbling…Like after an hour of lesson, this is what my warm-ups should be? Yiikes..We are not there yet, but we are getting there. Otherwise have been enjoying some flatwork, rides with friends, Halloween candy and Halloween parties!!

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Happy Halloween! From a friend’s party this weekend, one of TWO parties I went to! 

I had a shockwave therapy appointment yesterday morning and jesus it hurts~ It is no joke, I didn’t realize it was going to be so painful. And they say that it’s not even on a bone, which is more painful. Yikes. I have another session on Thursday to try and speed up the healing for my muscle…Can’t say I am looking forward to it. I felt beat up yesterday and in a fair amount of pain.

Still with some significant nerve pain today, oh joy. At least my muscle isn’t hurting?

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I am drowning my sorrows in chocolate and wine! 

Nothing was the same: Jump lesson recap!

As I wind down the week, my complaining is greatly lessened. The incredible stress & pressure is being lifted, thank god, and my horrible chest cold is slowly getting better.

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Back on top?!!

I even had a jump lesson last night (where I coughed my lungs out all ride) that went REALLY well! I was so happy with Oaty pony. We worked on a gymnastic (two x-rail bounces to a two-stride oxer) and then worked on a skinny on a diagonal, to a flower box skinny on a circle, to a bending line to the ‘road closed’ jump, to an oxer, back to the flower box on the circle, to the bridge jump-bending to the skinny.

Not super complicated but quite challenging for us, particularly straightness through the bending lines (irony eh? Straight to bending??) where I had to focus hard on counter-bend even though it literally felt ‘counter-intuitive’ hahah.

We even had the jumps bumped up a hole from (tiny- to measurable) for us! Whoop! Oats was rocking it and I was along for the ride. I was particularly proud of the gymnastic (didn’t freak out) and not freaking out when the jumps went up a hole. YAY small victories!

I also went to the Dr’s today to figure out what is going on- I am getting a blood test to make sure my vitamins/iron/etc are where they should be but he said everyone is getting sick right now…UGH. So, I’m in good company at least?? SIGH.

And my trainer’s horse is doing great, she had a long and very challenging recovery from colic but is full of beans right now and definitely on the mend! Thank god.

OH and I have been a clothes-horse right now…Got entirely new wardrobes for running & riding consisting of new snazzy breeches, a new barn coat, two new tech t-shirts, a new tech 3/4 zip up and a long-sleeved tech t-shirt. I can’t help myself! I needed retail therapy in the worst way 😉