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.

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We are what we pretend to be…

…so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.

Quote by Kurt Vonnegut, not an author I really enjoyed reading ever (so curmudgeonly sometimes, jeeeesh).

But this quote- it’s true! Although I think a positive connotation sometimes (do I pretend to be nicer, more generous than I actually am, and therefore somehow become those great traits?).

Anyways I’m thinking of this more in the terms of ‘fake it till you make it’ or some other bravado/encouraging type talk. I both like and dislike those sentiments. What if you’re always faking it?

Impostor Syndrome is actually a thing.

And to tie this into my horseback riding and run world- I often feel like I’m faking it, or trying to compensate for fear or fear of injury by blowing through and pushing myself to just ‘do it!’ and then it’ll all get better. Except the next time, I’m faced with the same fears. And the next time…And the next time…

So, this hamster wheel of pretending. Who stops the cycle? Am I willing to?  Not at this point I don’t think I am. This is very common in the workplace too, from what I hear. And my form of compensating is being braggy, a sharp, clever girl who showboats what she’s good at (and man, I am good at some important things at work, and I let them know it!!). This is another form of compensating, on my side, for previous times when my work wasn’t respected and it hurt me beyond what I knew.

Conversely- I’m an ok runner, on the mediocre side and I don’t really get to brag too hard about that, mostly because I’m kind of always living with the fear that my knee will sideline me bigtime. Every run is a lucky run, basically. I’m very careful about maintenance, but so paranoid about every twitch, stumble or ache. I know I’m lucky to get to do this much, and I often see photos of myself after a race and I am in awe- that’s me? I run? I do this?

Riding is a harder boat to float in. You can pretend to yourself, but can you pretend to an animal?

And I’m not sure what the lies ahead! I took yesterday off riding after the tougher dressage lesson- and my knees/legs have been KILLING me this week, so I spent the evening on the couch icing my knees and shins. Ouch…

Jump lesson with Oats tonight, and then I’m taking Friday off to rest my knee/legs again.

Let’s not go there = We’re definitely going there!

Had an interesting dressage lesson last night that kind of resurfaced some of my fears (specifically, the fears I have that Oats is going to be a twit and start bucking/getting humpy on me again).

Looks can be deceiving!

Looks can be deceiving!

Note- he hasn’t really pulled this stuff in months- since that one bad time in October?

But the fear is apparently always there, albeit not as close-to-the surface as it used to be.

We worked on engaging/pressuring ‘intensity’ at the walk and trot. BIG walk, tiny trot, BIG trot. It was starting to melt Oat’s brain, and I got kind of pushy with my hands when HE got pushy with his head. When his head came up, my hands defensively came up! I can’t seem to help it! When he started tossing his head and getting balky, I got anxious. I started remembering what he was like before, when we started increasing the pressure on him.

But then, Karen said (while I was frustrated and it felt like he was messing with my head!!) if his head goes up, your hands don’t go up! Think about your contact/hands like guard rails. They are there to guide. They don’t go sideways, up, down, anything. They are guiding.

Oats the giraffe

Look at my horse: My horse is amazing

And you know what? The super annoying messing around slowly started going away. My anxiety about his behaviour still existed, but it felt like I was more secure. I could do this! I could be solid, guiding, and push with my legs- it didn’t matter if his head went up, down, all around.

We did get some fab canter- and I sat the canter/gallop the whole way! Whee!! Go us!

And I felt a lot more secure, and my anxiety was starting to melt away. It’s funny, how deep the roots of stress and anxiety lay though. We’ve been having some amazing breakthroughs in lateral work, like every week, and then this week, some more ‘intense’ work at the trot and I have a melt down? Silly!

Of course my friend came to watch and this is the show we put on for her. SIGH! Hahaha, oh well. Horses- can’t live with them, can’t live without ’em sometimes.

It did make me want to start jumping even more though. I sure like that feeling more than wrestling through dressage some days, even if the cross-training we are doing is definitely helping us progress. It is hard-won, some days.

Why I’m not a New Years Resolutioner

So, I guess I’m going to continue feeling cranky and crabby. My parent drama really came to head yesterday, just before I was going to check out a new gym- Steve Nash Fitness– to test out their group fitness classes (that I had a free pass for, for a few months). Needless to say, the group fitness classes didn’t happen and will probably have to wait.

My New Years Resolution

My New Years Resolution

I’m still not feeling great about it, but I am trying to be supportive. As it turns out, that is harder to do than I thought.

So, I have my dressage lesson tonight and quite frankly, still feel very brain-drained. Emotional turmoil is tiring. So tiring.

But anyways, when I was trying to plan my new workout class yesterday, and when I was at my work gym today for my usual 30-40 minute daily workout, I was struck again by the ‘born again New Years Resolutioners’.

You know the type…Typically flabby, middle-aged women but sometimes men, try-hards who are ‘going to get this year off to the right start!!!”

They sport all the gimmicks- FitBit, new running shoes (in neon, though I have neon shoes too haha), iPods gripped in their hands, all they do is talk about their new naturopath and their recommended holistic treatments, and spend all of their time lolling around on the mats or foam rollers instead of doing any solid workouts.

These are people I have NEVER seen at the gym before January 1. I have my regulars, hell, I am a regular, haha. I listened to one woman talk to another in the change room (sidenote: why do people take freaking forever to get changed, arranged, and IPodded up? Get in, get changed and GTFO!!!!!).

They were saying about how going to the gym was such a better idea than trying to run after work (agreed- I only run after work in spring/summer/fall, as it’s too dark and unsafe in the winter) and how they were all prepared this year!!! They had all the songs they wanted loaded on their iPods, they had bought new running shoes, they had the newest workout clothes….

I just wanted to say- I, sporting my non music, my cut-off gym pants, and ratty tank-top, enough with the STUFF and enough with the BS and get on a machine and GET GOING!

Enough with the talk and rolling around. Get up, get in and get out. Rinse and repeat. You have to do it every day (and for me, I’m talking years of the same routine) that it becomes a mindless exercise to get to the gym and get down to business. If I had to wait for a friend? I’d never freaking go. You know why? Because THEY would never go!

I mix up my workouts though– I do get really stuck in a rut sometimes (hence the trying out of new group fitness workouts I mentioned earlier) but it’s too important to just GO AND DO IT. Don’t wait for a new year, a Monday, a new you, a friend, anything.

You can’t rely on trinkets, gadgets, new clothes, other people, the weather, anything. You have to rely on you. That is the only thing I have literally learned, doing this. I am a lunchtime warrior, haha.

And I am no saint with this either. I am a dessert-with-lunch-and-dinner type of person. I workout too much sometimes for no reason. I don’t necessarily have any good goals – though this year I am proud to say I signed up for an Island Run series!! Yeah! I am trying to fix my knee problem, though that is very slow going.

People are literally excuse machines. I can be (about my riding/jumping/showing goals, because I am an anxiety-riddled huge chicken who has something to prove, apparently), but I am NOT about my workouts, or the amount and intensity of riding I do – which is tons, and quite intense.

Me this year

Me this year

I’m doing it. And sometimes, that’s enough, because I do it every.single.day.