Honey Bunches of Oats does dressage!

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Photo courtesy of Makayla Hovey.

I saw this quote in another blog (Medal Slut), and I loved it so much I had to use it~

“Find what you love and let it kill you.” – Charles Bukowski

And here’s the shocker-for a reluctant dressage-er, we did REALLY WELL!! Got our personal best scores of all time?! 68.47% in Training Level 1, and 69% in Training Level 2~ can you believe it! I can’t!

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The whole gang with their ribbons!!

Rewinding a bit, I had originally wanted to go to the Cowichan District Riding Club’s jumper show on the Saturday, when everyone was going but as I mentioned yesterday we had a packed schedule and no hauler to go up with, soooooo dressage it was!

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Photo courtesy of Makayla Hovey.

I had avoided the dressage ring for a few years, because it was hard, we were’t good at it, and it tripped all of my high-anxiety issues for showing and Oats did not respond well to my nerves, at all. So, jumping it was. But then, my husband got me some fancy white dressage boots for Christmas, so I wanted to show them off…and well, I had a ride to the showgrounds with my friend and her horse, sooooo…

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Photo courtesy of Makayla Hovey.

It was fated! We were doing dressage for the first time in like 3 years!

As you will note, we practiced a LOT in the two weeks leading up the show. Four dressage lessons, even? I was ready. I was still very nervous, but luckily we didn’t have a lot of time to fuss around at the show, as we were running kind of late, haha. I hopped on, did a pretty perfunctory warm-up (Oats was ok, but swapping his left lead for his right CONSTANTLY in the warm up and it as driving me nuts). Anyway, off we went for Training Level 1 and you know what? It went fine. I felt pretty ok about it, despite him spooking a bit in the warm up and getting a little silly.

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Photo courtesy of Makayla Hovey.

Funny enough usually at horse shows, I can’t wait to BE DONE and get off. This time? I finished my test 1, and said I want to get back in their and have more opportunities to ride the test! Who is this girl? I was still anxious, but I felt like I could have more time in the ring and really focus on riding.

Cue super long hiatus where Oats got loose and ran over one of the girl’s finance’s foot. Whoops!! He did catch Oats for me though, with Oats pinning his foot into the ground. Yikes! Oats and I hung out for ages..My first test was at 9:50am, and my second one was at 1:50pm!!

I got ready at around 1:10pm and warmed Oats up for the second time. He was TERRIBLE in the warm up. Thundering around, swapping leads like crazy, kind of acting nuts. I had this awful sinking feeling in my stomach.

Nicole was like, hey leave it in the warm- up, and just go and ride your test!

Easier said than done…

But, we entered the ring, started the first half of the test, got whistled out (judge thought we were doing Training 3 mistakenly, so I got to go back out, re-enter and start the test over.) Despite the miserable warm-up, the whistling out, we DID IT. We entered the groove, where I was focused on my test, on my horse, and on my body.

Each moment was there for me, and I wasn’t thinking too far ahead. (I did worry about the canter, ha).

When we came up to the final halt, I just KNEW we had a rocking test. We aced it!! The judge called me over and asked what breed Oats was (a mutt, I said. haha) and she said she really liked him and he was a good size and a very nice mover! WOW!!!!! 🙂

That test? Highest score ever for me- 69%. Good enough for second place for us! YESSS. A great end to a good day. I was very proud of how we pulled it together, and you should have seen how great everyone else was riding yesterday- I wasn’t the only one coming away with some good scores!!

Kudos to my friends for their great efforts, and to the Cowichan District Riding Club for a friendly, welcoming and fun atmosphere.

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Photo courtesy of Makayla Hovey.

Hopoxia!!! 2017 Edition

This weekend was BUSY with a capital ‘B’ but hey, I knew that about June 2017 and I am totally loving it!!

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Saturday, I knew I was on a tight(er) timeline- I was trying to fit in a run (long), a ride & pack and clean up horse for the dressage show on Sunday, and a walk to Phillips Brewery for their Hopoxia beer fest!

I started with the run- 18km. It was absolutely horrible. I had terrible asthma, making my chest/lungs constrict in a super frightening and unpleasant way. I was gasping and clutching my chest. Hm, maybe I should have used my puffer, or at least carried it with me…It’s becoming very clear that I have either allergy-induced or exercise-induced asthma (or both!!) and it’s pretty nightmarish to try and run with it.

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Anyways, that was frighting and sucky and I hated it, but I did it. I did have to listen to my body and walk when I started gasping for breath, so be it. I did it! And went home to a great breakfast courtesy of my great husband, and then it was off to ride & pack up my stuff and give Oats a bath!

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I tried to go as quick as I could, and zipped home (note- I only showered on Sunday, after allllll of my events were over. Good choice or bad choice?? ha).

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We walked to Hopoxia, and I had a fab time there! We tried so many awesome beers, chatted with a friend/colleague and I really enjoyed the chance to try some super cool and unique flavours- standouts include a bunch of really sour ‘sours’, and the ‘A day off your life’ beer that was like 11.5%!?!!

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A great time was had by all 🙂

Second chance summer

What a great weekend. It was so lovely, I wish I could bottle it, so I could release those ‘feel good’ endorphins for months to come…

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Photo courtesy of my friend- blurry but it captures all the fun we had!

It was the kind of weekend where things just work out. The weather was fantastic, I had some great times with my girls, drank wine, ran, rode my pony, floated at Thetis lake and just had a fabulous time all around in the hot sun.

Saturday we went garage sale-ing in a community that usually has great garage sales, and this year it sucked! What gives??? I still bought a pair of shorts and workout pants (and they do look great) but in the past we’ve had way better luck. Oh well, that’s just how garage sales go I guess…

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Holding hands so we don’t drift apart! The two Sarahs.

Then I zipped out to the barn and rode Oats in the outdoor arena and he was really great out there! It was so hot too, I couldn’t believe it. Like a big frying pan. I had a super fun ride, hung out at the barn for a bit cleaning & conditioning my tack, and then drove home and prepared to…go on a really long run. In the heat. Wow! It was really rough, not gonna lie. More of an eternal shuffle-jog, but I did it!!

I then had the luxury of a great bbq dinner courtesy of my husband with a beer to share and a bottle of wine. Ahh….

Sunday I didn’t have to get up too early, but my super-husband made crepes! Whooo! And then we both set out for the day- I rode Oats and then my barn friends and I went and floated at Thetis Lake (a great idea of theirs and the BEST day to do it). I just had this feeling like, I wanted this day to last forever….

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Oats has also been enjoying the summer! Photo courtesy of Sarah C.

Husband went climbing for the whole day, so I wrapped up at the lake and then put my gym clothes on and stopped off and ran some hills (again in the heat, yeowch it was tough) before heading home to take Gidget out. I had to walk some, I was dying!! Oh well, my legs too quite the beating this weekend.

Home again, with an ice cream McFlurry to finish off an amazing weekend. I just wish I had so many more of these! 🙂

Biggest weekend recap ever: Jumping, massively sick, a bachlorette party?

Thursday I rode in my lesson (perhaps unwisely) as I had gotten turned away at work for showing up sick…I had a horrible sore throat that came on suddenly overnight and it was just awful. I couldn’t sleep all night, felt like knives stabbing my throat and I couldn’t swallow, my throat was so swollen.

Yay…

So I went home and lay around the house after work kicked me out. It was so boring that I was desperate to do something, so I dragged myself out of the house and went, drowsily, to my lesson. Where we jumped 2’9” hahah.

I know eh? But hey, it went fine! Scared the bejeezus out of me but he did it great every time! More times than I wanted to jump even! We just kept doing it. The other jumps weren’t…so good. He had some issues with a short distance into a line and kept slamming on the brakes? WTF? He is not a horse that stops, and it was NOT high, haha. It was almost like he was getting spooked by it? Weird. We did that one over and over again until it was fine with no issues.

Silly pony. 2’9” oxer no prob, but 2’3” black and yellow? Nuh huh!

I felt very spacey and dizzy after. Ugh. Just in time for my sister’s bachlorette party in Kelowna, which I was flying out to on Friday. Whoop! *cough* cough* sneeze repeatedly, cough some more…My sinuses hurt…

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The view from Arrowleaf winery. Sigh…

But yes, Kelowna. Despite being pretty sick, I had a really fun time! We rented a condo in a golf course area, and we had a blast! We visited the Kangaroo farm on Saturday, and then found a beach that wasn’t completely flooded out to chill out on and eat some junk food picnic, drink some booze, and float around on the lake!

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We wrapped up that day by more drinks around the pool at the condo, and then a BBQ (that turned out to be a total shenanigan…we had no propane tank?) meaning we had to make friends with a football team staying at the golf course to borrow their propane tank…It didn’t work so we had to get them over to fix it…I then put temporary tattoos on them like ‘Cheers Bitches’ and ‘Team Bride’ and ‘Miss to Mrs.”…fun times!

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I’m a natural (wallaby) mother!

I drank a touch too much but also I blame the heat (28 deg and unused to it) + junk food+ cold medication so yeah, ended up feeling quite rough the next morning. I got my run gear on, went to tie up my shoes, immediately felt like puking, ran to the bathroom, threw up, and then went back to try the shoes again (success!) and went on a wimpy, hot, weirdly sweaty run.

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Got back, still felt queasy and ick, showered and ate a bagel and then we were off to wine tours! The tours were great, we went to these wineries and they all had really neat and different venues with lots to offer.

  • The Blind Tiger
  • Arrowleaf Winery
  • Parallel 50
  • Grey Monk- we had lunch here and it is PRICEY. The food was not included in the wine tour, so the tour was $150, and lunch at the winery ran about $45/per person. Ouch!
  • Intrigue Winery

All in all, a great but quite expensive day.

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What’s a bachlorette party without hunks?

Then we were back to the pool & hot tub, and I swam for a bit in the pool. Really enjoyed it! I wast totally sacked though, so I prepared dinner for the gang (all 7 of us) from our grocery leftovers and did a pretty good job if I do say so myself, and then went to bed and didn’t sleep at all. Sigh! My flight out was at 8:45am on Monday and I felt so sad to leave. It was so hot, it felt like summer was finally here.

A good weekend all around, and I even got back to ride Oats on Monday, get a sunburn on my shoulders and still continue being sick back at work today. That part sucks!

Back from holidays! (nothing was the same)

A week away feels so much longer, particularly when I was coming down from several months of extreme stress, pressure and sickness.

And WOW it was worth it. Such a great holiday, such a great time.

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Greetings from sunny Sayulita!

We visited Sayulita in Mexico, close to Puerto Vallarta – roughly an hour away. An easy place to get to, and an easy place to like. Eternal summer.

We did everything. Horseback riding on the beach, hanging out with friends, boogie boarding at the main beach, swimming in the ocean every day, snorkeling, stand up paddleboarding, hiking, I went on one run, and a boat trip to the Marietas Islands (more on that later…).

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We even got to gallop on the beach!

I miss it. I feel sad to be back.

The food was so great, we cooked/ate a lot of meals at our VRBO rental- which was great, by the way. The only downside was the shared plunge pool that ended up being not-so-shared as our neighbour unit had a large family and kind of ended up occupying it. Oh well!

What did we eat? Octopus! Shrimps! So many shrimps, I felt sick. Shrimped out!

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Cooked my first whole octopus

We made fresh salads with avocado, queso fresco, salt and lime. That’s all you need for seasoning, as we found out. We drank Coronas (me) Pacifico (Ian) and then later, Agua fresca  Jamaica for me (when I was off booze).

Restaurants? We did that too! We ate at La Esperanza, pricier than the other joints but SO high quality- I had tuna steaks in hibiscus sauce on mashed plantains, and it was AMAZING. So much tuna I gave some to Ian because I was full and still kind of reeling from my hangover.

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Souvenir beach bag I bought for my sister.

We also did an entire night of street foot- we started with tacos el Ivan and got eight – ocho-tacos al pastor for super cheap, $100 pesos? Next we had hot churros, and then a beef tamale, and then corn in a cup. It was all so good! In the beginning of our trip, we ate ceviche from a street vendor and it was excellent and fresh. So much good food!

The only tragedy was our boat trip to the Marietas Islands. I was excited for it, and the boat ride out was really nice, we saw dolphins and blue-footed booby birds and their chicks at the islands!

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Ill fated boat trip, oh against my better judgement

We snorkeled a bit but I was freezing- the water was cold and kind of silty so it wasn’t great snorkeling so I swam back to the boat and hopped on a stand-up paddleboard. It was tough and tippy!

On our way back, we swam some more, had lunch and plentiful snacks, and ….my ultimate downfall, copious amounts of free flowing booze like pina coladas, margaritas, tropical drinks and shots. Jesus.

Anyways, you can see where this is going…I drank WAY too much, encouraged by the atmosphere and fun and I completely lost control. The minute I stepped off the boat and onto the bus to head back to Sayulita, I was throwing up uncontrollably. Ian gave me a water bottle and it fell uselessly out of my hands because I couldn’t even clutch anything.

Threw up out the window the whole way back, and we staggered to the plaza- we stopped there so Ian could go to the bathroom, and I proceeded to throw up over the back of the park bench in the middle of the day, bright sunlight. YUCK.

We staggered back to our place, and I was so sick I couldn’t even make it to the bathroom (yes puking in a bucket, please and thank you)…

Passed out apparently with my eyes open, creepily.

Threw up at night again.

Rinse, repeat.

So, Thursday was not a great day after but I rallied and we went to the beach and got a Chocobanana (great!) and I managed to eat some stuff later on. I wasn’t feeling too miserable, because I guess passing out at 5pm the day before gives you plenty of time to stew in your misery before getting it over with.

So, yeah I am kind of off booze for now, giving my poor liver and brain a break plus GAG.

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The endless summer of San Pancho

But, I LOVED Sayulita and San Pancho and would definitely go back. Love Mexico!

A recipe for a crazy weekend: Track racing, birthday dinner, the beach, horseback riding & Rock the Shores!!

Yep, that’s my weekend right there! Nobody ever accused me of wasting my weekends, that’s for damn sure 🙂

We started the weekend with dinner (steaks! yum) at my parents new house, and a walk to the beach from their place. It’s so close to the water, it’s lovely. They are really happy with the move they’ve made – from boring, blah old Ottawa- to a beautiful new place and unimpeded access to the beach.

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My parent’s card to me…

Saturday I rode Oats first in the ring, to hop over a few jumps, and then moseyed around the field for awhile watching some other riders have a lesson in the field. I’m taking advantage of the field access as much as I can these days. I zipped home after buying grain (ugh, had to drive out to Saanich right after riding to get it) and the weather was SO nice, that we headed straight to the beach at Dallas Rd, with Gidget in tow.

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Back to the field!

We chilled out at the beach for awhile and it was lovely. I couldn’t get too relaxed though, as I had to get home to gear up for my last track race of the season. Meet #3~ I wasn’t sure how things were going to go, as I’ve been battling muscle/leg fatigue on and off for a couple of weeks now, and been struggling on my runs to just complete them. General consensus seems to be: overtraining/overwork. Maybe, maybe…

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At the beach! 

Anyways, we hit the track and I signed up to do a mile, and the 3km. Maybe I got too greedy, because after my mile race (which went..okay I guess…) I was seriously lagging. My 3k felt like I was running in slo-mo, I was falling behind on the track and getting passed. It was kind of a piss-off, because I know I am capable of faster and of running a more competent race, sooo what gives??!!

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Hauling ass? Well, not so much!

I was kind of bummed to fall behind so much in my run, that I lost perspective of what was really the point here: Learn to sprint race without killing my lungs (actually that was a success, as I was coughing much less last night than I ever have!) and learn about pace.

I checked my results this morning, and my mile wasn’t even too shabby: 6:35, and my 3k was lame (13:12- I have run it under 12:30 …) but hey, in the grand scheme it is all a progression and not terrible.

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Sunday I went riding and jumped Oats over the small x-rails in the field= loved it!!! And then immediately felt tired, so walked up and down hills for awhile to build his muscles and give me a break.

I didn’t ride for long because we had Rock the Shores to get to! It was hot hot hot! Things that bugged me- drinks got INSANELY expensive- $8 for a beer? Eff right off with that!

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Rock the Shores from three years ago!

Crowds were good and very manageable, no line-ups, ice cream was lovely, poutine was sooo good and the standout bands were The Arkells and The Eagles of Death Metal. WOW!! Amazing performances, and class acts, both of them. Great sound, excellent vibes. One bummer- Metric really sucked. The sound was lousy, tinny and too high reverb. Also Emily Haines seemed to be doing this thing where she’s play 1 song, and then riff for 10 or more minutes on it…Combined with the lousy sound, it was so.boring. I really like Metric, but this was just…ugh. No thanks. We left early and I didn’t feel like I was missing a thing! Booooooo.

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My buddy and me from three years ago at Rock the Shores.

Got home pretty seamlessly and back to work today. I am tired! 🙂

Race Recap: MEC Race #3 The Tape Breaker!

I ran this one solo, no friend, no husband to join me but I was fine with it. The race moved from last year, the Sooke Potholes location. I really loved the Sooke race–I was fairly new to half-marathons, and found it quite difficult and hot, but the track, the scenery, the weather…so gorgeous!

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So when they announced a new venue I was kind of feeling crabby about it.  One of my favourite races was Sooke even though my time kind of sucked last year, just because of the lovely memories of it. So how was Royal Roads going to measure up?

Well! I can say I am very glad this was was changed when I was more comfortable with running the halfs, that’s for darn sure. It was quite a bit tougher, in terms of terrain to negotiate and the hills. Oh, the hills…I assumed it would be hilly but doable, but when you start with 2k of sloping hills, and then run up Wishart Rd–kind of kills your will to live!

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I’m not gonna lie, the first 10k I was feeling pretty surly at myself. My pace sucked sucked sucked, my legs felt really dead–I looked at my watch at the start and it was saying paces like 5:37, 5:40–at the START of a race? WTF was going on? Why so slow? Well, the slow was due to hill running, genuis! hahah.

It was a combination of gravel, pavement, some road running, then hill/road running, more trail running (roots) and back to gravel. A more technical half than I am used to, but you know what? At 12k a volunteer shouted to me–”Hey you’re half way there!” And I smiled and felt instantly better. Sure I am! Funny enough, having to muscle my way up a really long/steep hill made the time pressure much less for me. I was not going to get my goal time that I got at my last half- 1:45. So I might as well enjoy the process!

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And I did! It was still very hard, I was running dead alone for most of it–not many in the middle ground like me, some very fast runners ahead of me, and slower runners behind me, but nobody with me. It could have been very lonely, but I was fine. It was a hot day, I was sweating so much it was splashing off my ponytail 🙂

I made sure to stop at every water station and drink Gatorade too. I wanted my race to feel SO much better than last time, when I felt like dying and it was horrible. And you know what? I finished STRONG! Happy! FAST! *well, you know…

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My time was 1:50 and you know what? That is totally ok. I know I am capable of faster- on a different track- but on Sunday, that was good for me. I ran a race I am happy with. Congrats to MEC for putting on another affordable, well-run race for everyone, and I love the photos too!

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A strong finish. Thanks to MEC for another great race.