Oceanside Mother’s Day 10k: Race Recap!

Now this is a hard one to recap. To sum up: It sucked. It sucked out loud!

Last year running the course.

I did feel ready for this race too. My training has been pretty good, I’ve been enjoying my training- short runs, long runs, hill runs. My last race in Sooke was decent on what was considered a fairly challenging course, even after I drank and went partying the night before, showed up late to the race and had 5 minutes to pin my bib on and sprint to the start, and having to pee the entire race…

So the stars were aligned, relatively speaking, for a great race this weekend. I was rested, except for my shoulder and back killing me from when I crashed through the jump on Saturday. And then I completely BOMB this race. What the eff?

Last year I was unfairly rewarded with a first and a 2nd overall with a pretty mediocre time. This year, my time was better and I didn’t podium! Ah, Karma…

It was very windy, with a wind warning in our town. We started, and my first KM was ludicrously fast- 4:11/km. Very unsustainable for me. I slowed it down, and when I do this I usually take it to 4:22 or so…Imagine my horror when I felt like I’d taken it down to that, and checked my watch and it was at like 4:38/km WTF? How did I slow down that much? I still felt like I was running my lungs out???

It was surreal. The harder time I was having to run, the worse my times were getting. I was literally dragging myself along, and my legs felt like lead. Lifting them seemed like a huge struggle.

I watched my times bounce around each km between 4:34-5:00km/hr. Yes that’s right, FIVE. WTF? I think I maybe went that slow running up a hill at Sooke but that was after a good pace of 4:14-4:30 the whole race. What was GOING ON?! I wanted to give up so hard.

I was gasping for breath, and my times sank lower and lower. I struggled over the gravel section in a very picturesque section of the race. I wanted to enjoy it more, get that ‘flow’ feeling I love so much when I get in the groove racing, but it NEVER came to me. Not one. Every kilometer felt like a major struggle to breathe, make my legs go.

I was feeling exhausted, beat up, burned out, sore shoulder, out of breath, and breathing so hard my lungs and throat burned. I was working way too hard for so little.

It was a very discouraging race. I got passed by everyone, and only managed to pass 1 runner on my way to the finish. I finished with a decently strong time of 46:34 (for this course, not for me), but I wasn’t happy with the way the race ran. I failed, it hurt, I just never had that good, ‘pure’ race moment I run to find. I can blame a few factors: terrible allergies that my prescription meds stacked with over the counter antihistamines can’t even begin to touch, a very strong headwind, some mild injuries from the fall the day before.

The good news? My pre-race stomach issues were pretty much NOT a problem this time and I was able to eat breakfast (yesss!!) AND even enjoy the super generous spread at the finish!! Here’s to that keeping going in the future, whoop! I normally struggle with eating on race days, both in the morning and after the race.

Thanks again to the volunteers who put on a very safe and fun race, who were very encouraging and hosted a super awesome spread of snacks after. The best one yet! And I liked the ice cream at the end too. 🙂 Yeah!

Oh and last year? I would have loved this time. So funny, how perspective changes everything eh.

 

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Thanksgiving weekend recap: The fire inside.

Peaceful fall

Peaceful fall

So, when I last left, I was practically running out the door to get away from work and was desperate for a weekend, any weekend, so long as it long!!

No sooner was I relaxing into my weekend (hard-won) on a sleepy Saturday morning when I woke up suddenly and unpleasantly with a horrible wrenched neck. It was excruciating. I couldn’t look to the right, the back of my head/neck hurt, it hurt to chew anything – my jaw ached, and my shoulder/neck area felt frozen and throbbing, alternately.

Greeeattttt….

No rest for the wicked?

Secretly, I hoping to run to the barn on Saturday, where I would ride Oats and have my husband pick me up from the barn to go straight to my in-laws farm (maybe soon to not be their farm if the sale goes through, more changes,. eek!!). Instead, I could barely walk.

Walking even jostled my neck horribly. I was in a ton of pain, on muscle relaxants and alternating hot/cold therapy to just be somewhat mobile. No running for me. I decided to ride anyways (because I’m insane??) but my husband had to help me get Oats out of his pen, groom him- it took forever – because he was so muddy, and lead Oats to and from the arena.

Yeehaw a skinny!

Yeehaw a skinny!

Once I was on, things were ok, though I couldn’t look right at all and was very uncomfortable trying to go right on Oats. He was a good sport though, and seemed very careful with me–even though we were doing a bit of jumping!

Oats taking care of me.

Oats taking care of me.

We got some photos, and I hopped off gingerly, and Ian led Oats back to the barn and helped me untack, carry my saddle back to the barn, and unbridle Oats. That was pretty funny, he tried to pull the whole bridle off Oats’ head w/o undoing the noseband, but did manage to get the throatlatch off. Oats was like WTF? But he’s a good pony now and didn’t take advantage…

We called it a ride, and headed off to the in-laws farm. There, I upped the painkillers a bit and enjoyed some pear picking in the pouring rain (hah!!) and a lot of good quality hot tub and wine time. Sure didn’t hurt my neck situation at all, but mannnnnn did I feel it the next morning…

My neck was pretty much healed by Sunday morning but my wine hangover had a ferocious hold on me. I was like, I’m hungry!! I’d eat something…”I feel sick!!”….I’m hungry!!! I feel sick!!

All morning. Gag.

I didn’t have much time to feel sorry for myself though. We were up and out of the house to cheer on my friend who was running his second marathon!!! Gidget was miserable, whiny and annoyed at waiting around to watch. I was pretty happy though, we managed to cheer him on and get a great photo too! He did awesome.

Great work!!

Great work!!

Then, I felt inspired….

And not quite so sick anymore.

So, like the crazy person I am, I decided to run to the barn, ride, and then maybe run home. Note: this is not a short distance.

My own horse-half marathon? A new challenge? A way to work out the extreme pressure and anxiety I’d been experiencing throughout the week, and was too injured too often to resolve it through exercise?

No matter the reason–I was going to DO IT!

And so, I did. And you know what? It was fine. I jogged to the barn, waved hi to my friend Sarah who saw me at an intersection- and said I was crazy, haha. And I rode and STILL had too much ‘intensity’ in my ride on Oats. Luckily he is still a forgiving pony and he was a good boy for me, even when I come to the barn ‘running high’ and with extra energy I can’t resolve normally.

We worked through some poles- they were terrible, he does better at jumps- and then a brief lateral session once way each where he was quite reasonable, and he was sooooooo sweaty! I then sponged him off, ate a coconut-chocolate Clif bar, and changed back into my clammy workout clothes and prepared to run home.

The run home wasn’t quite as smooth as the way there- my stomach started hurting a LOT, I kind of blame eating the Clif bar so soon after riding and then running again- and my knee was bugging me a bit, and the noise on my calf injury got turned up too…

But I made it fine, it just took a long time.

So, Sunday was an investment in time. Me time. Time to work out whatever anxiety I had going on through my running and riding.

The next day I felt pretty good, tired, but good. Sometimes the fire that burns inside burns too hot and too bright, and threatens to consume us. My way of dealing with it is through exercise.

What could have been?

Scorched earth policy

Scorched earth policy: Art by the famous Robert Montgomery

As I indicated yesterday, Oats and I are at a crossroads. I want to make sure he is a happy, willing partner who likes being with me, and respects me.

So, that leaves me with a puzzle. How much of his behaviour is Oats’ attitude (and boy, he has TONS of ‘tude), and is there anything else underlying that I should be aware of?

What changed?

I literally see two paths before us right now:

1. Push through it with more work- groundwork and others. Get my ballsy friend on him to sort out some of the under saddle stuff.

2. Don’t do anything under saddle and let him take a bit of a break for awhile, until he gets his chiropractic visit. Re-asses, but with time off- a few weeks off from lessons and serious under saddle stuff?

I am leaning a bit more towards course of action #2 at the moment.

We literally NEVER take time off. I am not good at downtime, unfortunately. Does that mean my horse has to never get downtime either? It just scares me, this long stretch of …what?? No goals? Progress? Etc? To be completely fair, I am bad about this with myself. I have a nagging knee problem that got really bad last year when I was running 10k regularly. It was extremely painful, and I ended up not being able to run that distance anymore- physically at all.

I did everything- went to a physio, ran shorter distances as recommended by them, bought a knee brace, ran shorter trail runs, did more stair runs, broke up my runs, stopped running 10ks (except when I did run them, oops!).

Everything except…Take a break and stop running.

And what happened? Over a year later, my knee is still messed up and I can’t seem to really stop running, but the knee thing is still stopping me from really ‘enjoying’ my run and I can’t do 10ks unless I commit to limping at least half of it. I am getting a referral to a sports medicine doctor in a few weeks so that is that I hope!

BUT

As a life lesson, I don’t want my relationship with Oats to become a nagging knee injury, limping along a year later. I want to enjoy being with him, riding him, without worrying and with more trust. And I just feel super bummed about it too, because things were going WELL with him. I feel like I’ve been riding him more consistently and more thoroughly than ever??

I ran this conundrum by a not really horsey coworker and they thought that step #2 was a wiser course of action. I find that interesting, and they are really just coming to the scenario not really knowing me or Oats, but knowing that animals can be tricky sometimes, and we really just want what’s right for them.

Hmmm….Waiting to hear back from Oats’ chiro!

We have the facts and we’re voting yes

Sunny day

 

So, ouch. I’m spectacularly clumsy right now.

Not only do I have a few blisters courtesy of wielding a hedge-trimmer last week, but I have blackberry scabs that are still healing AND a few new injuries, thanks to Oats.

He bit my thumb yesterday- not really his fault- as I was feeding him an apple I was also talking on the phone, and my poor thumb got in the middle of a big chomp! OUCH. I immediately dropped the phone and the apple. FRIG.

And this morning, I dropped a tube of toothpaste on my toe- that has a very large, round cap…That landed right on my poor toe. My thumb AND toe still hurt.

UGH. I am feeling tired and cranky right now.

Oh well, Wednesday and two more days to go.

Rode in a lesson with Karen Brain last night and it was interesting. I felt like I was riding kind of poorly…The kind of ride that I just didn’t feel like I was stepping up to the plate? I sure was TRYING hard though.

Oats was having a few minor hissy-fits about not charging through transitions, not turning when HE wanted to turn, etc.

Gidget

Gidget

Something very amusing- we worked on an exercise of trotting through a ‘chute’ of poles, then trot- and pick up canter through the chute. Both horses immediately got excited and things got a little…wild! HAHA

Karen thought it was funny how we were both like and….GO!!!!!! And the horses were like YEAH!! Something EXCITING is happening?!!!!

Ha yeah so no. We went back to trotting in the poles, and then mixed in the canter but not every time, to keep that sort of wild-excitement down to a dull roar…ha.

Riding, such a mental game isn’t it!