Hola Mexico!

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We just went on a super awesome Mexico trip, driving down the Yucatan Peninsula to explore the side/route not taken- the Caribbean side! It was great 🙂

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We landed in Playa del Carmen, which I didn’t really like…It felt like Las Vegas to be honest! Big loud bars, party scene, touristas everywhere and just very overwhelming. If we were there for longer, I know we’d see the ‘real’ Playa del Carmen, and not just the touristy veneer, but for first impressions it was nuts~ Plus we went to a restaurant, the food was quite good but they screwed up our order, when we called them on it, they straight up lied…And we could tell. Bad move, people.

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A diff restaurant, much more humble.

But at least the order we did get tasted good? Ha. Regardless, we were eating what they brought, not what we wanted.

Then we rented our car and were off to Mahuahual. I can’t even say the name right to this day….Much less spell it correctly. It’s a wayyyys off, basically 3.5 hours from Playa Del Carmen. It feels eerily like you’re in the middle of nowhere, haha. And then boom! You are at the ocean, and it’s a really cute little town. Very touristy and has a cruise ship port- but it was very quiet when we were there. It can be a bit of a party town too, down at the far end.

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The condo at Mahuahual.

We had a condo rented via air bnb and it was AWESOME! Cool, breezy, large, good internet, clean and had a fantastic blender that I made GREAT use of. Thumbs up! We did a fair amount of snorkeling and walking around in Mahuahual. We saw about 5 rays, I found a very large snail, almost as big as a conch! I also saw a lionfish.

We got pretty sunburned, but that was okay because soon we were on our way to the jungle! We then spent 1 day at a jungle lodge in Calakmul and it was scorching hot. Holy jeezus, it was stifling when we got there and our cabin sure didn’t have A/C….But they did have a pool! We spent a lot of time in it. Dinnertime and we saw some agoutis scampering around the forest!

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We spent a lot of time at the pool…it was scorching hot! 

The next morning there was much confusion as the state we were in was in a different time zone…Ha. We got up (too early as it turned out) to have breakfast and then head to see the Mayan ruins at Calakmul (the reason we went there in the first place). The ruins are located deep in the biosphere, on a 60-km long journey on a seriously pot-holed and pitted road. It was a long and arduous drive. We did see what may have been a tapir?? several toucans, and a wild turkey attacked our car too, which was frightening.

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Toucan friend

We made it to the ruins and I bolted out of the car and ran straight to the washrooms (another story entirely….bees and or flies. YIKES). There are no services there other than washrooms, so you have to be careful with water and food- you must bring everything with you, and there is nowhere to buy those items at the jungle lodge, so you have to come prepared early.

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We then walked what felt like forever to see the ruins, hidden among the jungle. They were VERY impressive…looming out of the trees. Tons of them too! And we were practically the only people there, only a handful of others. It was screamingly hot too.

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We explored/climbed until we ran out of water and had to go back to the car, having exhausted most of the ruins- at least the neat ones. Back on the bumpy pothole road we went, this time straight to Bacalar, home of the second-largest freshwater lake/lagoon of the famed ‘seven colours’ water.

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It was not disappointing. It was gorgeous! Windy as fuck as we soon learned…But gorgeous! We spent some times swimming in the lagoon, renting space at a fancy and well-maintained beachside resort-type setup in town.

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We then went to explore the centoes (big water caves with freshwater) that was famous in the area- Centoes Azul. It was very cool but the idea of basically this giant pit of bottomless water that goes straight down is kind of frightening when you’re used to seeing and walking on the bottom of the ocean/lagoon floor…. Also I got attacked by a fish that was trying to bite my legs. Reminded me of piranhas!! I screamed and shrieked and swam for the ladders to get out.

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Cenote Azul

We wrapped up our time in Bacalar enjoying some truly fantastic food- I had a very reasonably priced whole roasted octopus, we ordered some GREAT ice cream- Ian had queso flavoured! I had ‘mamey’ flavour (kind of like a cakey vanilla?? It’s red?) And our last night we had what can only be described as a cauldron of meat. Hahahah. Yum though!

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Cenote Azul

Our journey home was arduous, stressful and had me going from 0-100 in like ten beats. UGHH. What we learned from that was- the less moving parts, the better. Next time just get a car from the airport and remove the extreme stress of returning the rental, buying bus tickets, getting on a bus, getting stuck in gridlock traffic, getting into a major huge lineup at the airport (ok maybe that part is inevitable…) but yeah. Freaking stressful.

Anyways, I can recommend our journey. It was amazing!!

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The Interior for a holiday

Featuring…lots of haze and smoky skies, courtesy of the wildfire situation happening all over B.C. at the moment. In Victoria right now, it’s crazy smoky and the air quality is really poor. I am happy to say it wasn’t that bad in Kelowna- some high haze but still fairly warm and sunny. It got a lot worse when we left actually- they had to shut down the airports! Yikes…

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Dirty Laundry winery.

Anyways we went to the interior for a bit of sun and summer warmth (that was only partially thwarted by the wilfires). We visited wineries, went on a run to the 12 trestles trail at the Kettle Valley Railway,. ate at restaurants, bought wine by the case (me), went to breweries and cideries, did some short hikes with Gidget and swimming! (pool, Similkimeen River and Okanagan Lake).

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Hot dog! At Dirty Laundry winery.

All in all, it felt really good to get away.

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Swimming in the Similkimeen. COLD! 

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Really smoky in Keremeos. View from a winery.

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Finished the run at the Kettle Valley Railway. Hot but good! 

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Vice & Virtue Brewery art- Kelowna.

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Yes we did a lot of this!!

Peru- the adventure of a lifetime! Step one: Lima & Radiohead

I actually put this off for a day since I’ve been back chiefly because I don’t even know where to begin! I will start by recapping my adventure from where we first landed- Lima, Peru.

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In Lima, we stayed in the Miraflores district. It’s a very safe, quite rich and fancy area in Lima. There are a lot of poorer areas, and one that is outright unsafe (at the airport, Callao, the port area). Lots of robberies, muggings, etc. But it’s easy to bypass by buying a safe bus ticket that leaves directly from the airport and it’s not an area you ‘wander in to’ by any chance.

We spent a few days in Miraflores in a very nice Air BnB that had a rooftop infinity pool, a ground floor pool and lots of sundecks. Really awesome. It was quite warm in Lima, as the sun really lazer beams down on people.

For our time in Lima, we visited the Pucllana Temple, which is right in the heart of Miraflores. It was very neat, and a cool way to learn about pre-Inca civilizations (there were so many, over 35?!).

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We then went to the historical old city part of Lima, and that was okay…It was kind of a bust tourist-wise because they just didn’t seem to be really set up for lounging at cafes or having cocktails, if you know what I mean? Just, nothing there to sit and enjoy. We did visit the San Francisco monastery, where they have very creepy catacombs. A reasonable price and a super interesting visit/tour through the catacombs. I highly recommend!

In the evening, we went to Barranco. Aside from Miraflores, people stay there. It’s really awesome- beautiful, quirky, funky, lots of people and restaurants and very safe. I loved it! There is also a brewery there, the Barranco Brewery.

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The next few days, we ran along the gorgeous Miraflores sea walk. They are very close to the South Pacific but it’s not a very friendly beachfront. There is no sand, just rocks and the highway runs right along next to it! The waves are also killer… And in the evening, we went to the Soundhearts Radiohead concert!!! WHOOP! The bus to the soccer arena was a flaming nigtmare, and I seriously wondered if I was going to get crushed to death. Yikes. I do NOT recommend taking the bus in Lima. It is a horrible experience.

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But anyways, we made it and the concert was SO GOOD. Radiohead played well to their audience, it wasn’t too crammed, and they had three encores. We left after the second, as I did not want to repeat the ‘crushed in a bus’ experience…But we still had time to listen to ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ which made it allll worthwhile….

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Corvina ceviche

And then it was up at 4am to catch a flight to our next adventure- Iquitos and the Amazon jungle. Stay tuned…

 

Everything is starting to make sense

Had a BUSY weekend. But a good one!

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So, what did I, Oats, Ian and Gidget get up to?

Saturday I had rescheduled my lesson for this week so I rode two jump lessons last week instead- Thur/Sat. Saturday I was out in the field for my ‘brave girl’ jump lessons! And it went really well- though most certainly not perfect, ha.

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Oats was on fire! He was charging off and it surprised the heck out of me. Who replaced my lazy as sin pony with Mr. Hot Pants? Wow. We had to work through some stuff (a few silly stops when I pulled my hands up before the jump, one attempt through the barrel jump that was basically a runout-stop-climb over it, I think he was feeling tired by that point, and one jump we crashed straight through in a -go-no-stop-no-go disagreement…Whoops! We circled around and jumped it fine the next time, so no hard feelings on that one.

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We jumped a lot, ha. It was quite a warm day, so my husband and I then headed straight to Thetis Lake for some good trail running (9km slow) and then we picked up our swimsuits, got changed and went swimming in the lake! How perfect is that?

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In the evening, we went to see a film- The Big Sick and it was pretty good actually.

Sunday I was on the go again- I volunteered as a flagger at the polo tournament (Victoria’s Lt Governor Cup) and it was a scorching day in the sun! I wanted to ride in the slow chukkar but didn’t get added to the tournament, so spent the day volunteering instead. Bummer! But oh well, there will be plenty of opportunities to play coming up.

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It was VERY exciting, and I saw some really crazy plays- full bore gallop ride-offs, some neat backhand goals and some really intense gallop leads. WOW!

Then I hopped back in my car and went to ride Oats (dressage in the indoor, I was feeling completely fried by the sun. Ouch!! Even the next day my face felt tight and hot.). Silly me, too much sun exposure and no hat. I know better than that!

All in all, a good and busy weekend. 🙂

Sure Sure

Jump lesson recap! When I last left, I was feeling blah and uninspired…But I’m here to say, that’s not really the case anymore! (sort of?) ha.

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A beautiful summer.

Running-wise, if I was a horse I would say I was definitely Not Quite Right (NQR). My ‘gait’ as it were is choppy and stilting, up-and-down instead of striding out. My legs burn and ache when I run, and they feel full of lead, sloggy and slow. I assume this is because I am still recovering from running myself into the ground with the silly half marathon?

But riding-wise, Oats was pretty good last night! I couldn’t ride to save my life, felt hot and kind of dizzy, had the WORST dry mouth and just felt sloppy and clueless. BUT Oats is a trooper, so we rode through some prettttty long courses (15 jump efforts) twice, including a small gymnastic. I did get to make some decisions (for the gymnastic, a short quiet 5 or go big for a 4-stride. I tried once for the 4, didn’t make it, and elected then to let the very short/quiet 5 ride from then on and it went fine!).

Other than that, it was jump up his neck! Get left behind! Don’t make any decision at all! Kind of sloppy jumping. Whoops! What happened to my seat, legs and eye? Oats was hot and lazy, taking a TON of leg & crop to keep going and was resorting to the ever-lovely stop, big chip, crawl over the jumps so I had to ride ride ride ride to get to the base nicely, not poorly, and jump from a reasonable spot.

But the jump efforts were tiny, so I felt pretty ok about screwing up repeatedly. Oh well, if you can’t make mistakes in practice then when can you make them?? I did enjoy the sun though, mannn it feels nice (when I am not so cotton-mouthed that I can barely speak). I also coughed heartily after my ride, something about the combination of lagging cold symptoms + dust + dry air= coughing? Ah, life.

 

Once upon a hell of a time: MEC race #3 The Pace Setter recap

Even writing this, a day or so later, makes me cringe. Jesus, what WAS I THINKING? Let’s put it this way- sometimes race times don’t tell the whole story. This race was 2:10, my personal worst time, and boy, the worst race I have ever foolishly attempted.

Clearly, my ego has more stamina than my body.

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Background of the race- Hatley Castle. Photos by MEC.

As I mentioned earlier, I made the (stupid and ill-advised) decision to run the half marathon the day after the Sooke Saddle Club, in the heat (hot for here, 28 degrees) with a raging head cold and exercised-induced asthma. I know enough that I just knew this was a bad idea, a really bad one.

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Three friends walking to the race. Photo by MEC.

I was joking around with my husband safely ensconced on our patio the night before with a glass or three of wine that my goal was to just NOT DIE. Newsflash- so I am a fortune teller, because that’s the way I spent the entire race feeling: close to death.

I also drank more wine to chase away my fears that what I was doing was dangerous and stupid and yeah….What could it hurt at this point? (Jury’s still out on that but I still like wine, so). Anyways, I was pretty beat after the horse show. I was jumping off Oats to blow my nose furiously, and overnight had developed quite the hacking gross cough that kept me up pretty much all night too. Lovely.

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Fueling with a gel. I should have known how bad it was going to be…Photo by MEC.

The morning of the race felt warm. Stomach-wise, I was feeling pretty good which should have been a warning sign of impending doom. I drank a bit of water, had some coffee, and met up with a friend running the 5k. I joined in with the warm-up routine and found my legs felt, well…like lead. I had a few twinges of fear but pushed that away, telling myself that it’s always like that and then I settle really well. Um, no.

We were off, and I felt ok for oh..1km? By 3km I was in trouble, and a lot of it. My legs were on FIRE, burning so badly with lactic acid I was wondering WTF was going on with them. I’m used to running pretty regularly??

This is a spectacularly hilly race, it starts off uphill, levels out a bit, and then has uphills on and off until one loooong downhill, to a really long flat section right along the ocean (so picturesque! I wanted to die!!) and then a steep and long climb back to the start, where you do it all over again.

I knew after my trouble at 3k that I was going to suffer, and suffer mightily. By 5k, I was really worried. Even after the downhill, I was telling myself I was walking up the big hill. No worries on that though, because by 8k I was struggling. My asthma started flaring up, I coughed phlegm basically all over myself and was gasping and dramatically clutching my chest.

Yay.

I walked/staggered/jogged my way miserably up the hill, thinking “just make it to 10km” and the miracle of miracles, I did. So, I just…sort of…kept going? At that point, I was fairly sure I was going to collapse. I have fainted this year so I know the warning signs, I just wasn’t sure if it was going to be near a MEC volunteer or not…

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So glad to be done. Photo by MEC.

Stupidly, I struggled on. I couldn’t run at that point- my legs weren’t responding, I was incredibly thirsty and every time I tried to attempt a run up something that wasn’t flat, my lungs were gripped in a clenched fist. So, I did what any dumbass runner who feels like giving up is impossible did- ran/walked the entire rest of the 2nd loop. And boy, did that take FOREVER. Enough time to want to cry anytime I saw a MEC volunteer.

I was in a real hell of my own making, and spending a lot of time in it, too. I couldn’t even run 1km, it was more like 100m of weak jogging, walk for awhile, and then try it all over again. Hell is also hot and doesn’t have enough Gatorade stops.

Surprisingly, I made it to the finish where I dramatically got my puffer from my husband, and felt like crying again. I was SO. BEAT. I wanted to crawl away and lick my wounds in private and pretty much never run, or at least race, ever again. EVER.

I was salty with sweat. I could feel it coating my face, my arms, my chest and my hat. We went home and I showered and slept for 2 hours. No race, ever, had bested me this badly before.

I sat on the patio, drank wine and contemplated my life choices for the rest of the day.

Quite like you: Bad ideas

So, where to start with this weekend? Maybe with the fact that I had a horrendous head cold, and was staring down the barrel of a majorly overscheduled weekend…With some dread/trepidation.

What was on tap? Saturday: Sooke Saddle Club Show and Tell in dressage (Training Level 2 and an attempt at Training Level 3) and then the MEC Race #3, The Pace Setter half marathon on Sunday (gulp!!). Did I mention I had a really nasty head cold that I am still trying to get over, combined with exercise-induced asthma that flares up badly when I have a cold/run hills/run long, and oh the hottest days Victoria will see this month?

What are you talking about, all I see is success….?? Right? Right?

Um, yeah no.

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Sooke Saddle Club Dressage Show ‘n’ Tell

But the Sooke Saddle Club show and tell went fairly well, Oats was being a bit of a dingus so we had some issues with contact…spooking and consistency (mine on this point). Oh and get this, I had gotten back from Nakusp on Tuesday, ran a track race Wednesday, had my lesson on Thursday where I printed out and ran through the WRONG TRAINING LEVEL TEST?! For Saturday. Shit!! I did print out the correct one in a big rush on Saturday morning but yes, my  head was definitely not in the game for anything, haha. And that was why we went off course in our first Training 3 test, and thankfully corrected that for the second one. I am a genius. (More on that later, like during the longest half marathon of my life).

So anyways, the judge was great and gave the feedback we needed. And I even made a goal for myself and Oats- try for First Level! I know it’s a reach goal, but I figure we can dream eh?

The scores were tough but VERY fair given what I was riding (sort of poorly, and got a MASSIVE charley horse in my leg, yay…mid-test) and how Oats was responding (not well). Great learning experience, and we even were lucky enough to have a friend swing by the ring and give me an Iced Capp!! Made my afternoon 🙂 🙂

It was a hot day, and I sweated through my belt. Phew. Foreshadowing for the race the next day…I got home at like 6pm. EEEK!

Stay tuned for the events of the next day….