Wish it. Want it. Do it.

Stolen from Brian on ‘Family Guy’ as a bit of an inside joke these days..Ha. You’ll not find me as an inspirational speaker (not my style!) but I do have to side-eye folks who are self-proclaimed inspirational gurus. What makes you an expert in others lives?

BUT I do have to say that my weekend was super-fant-astic! Loved it, all of it.

Friday, I had tickets to see Wintersleep, as we had missed them when they were in town last spring- a great opportunity to catch them again. And I would highly recommend them, they were just awesome. Good energy, came out for encores and seem to really appreciate their fan-base. Fun show all around.

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Me with long hair, Oct.

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And after my hair cut last week!

Saturday, I rode Oats and he was so great, I was goofing around over some small fences, and doing a little bit of homework: lateral work. Good pony. I did run with my husband- a tempo? run at 6k to see how my knee rehab is going. It was ok…Not great yet though. Sighhh…

Saturday night we hosted friends for some fondue and it was a blast! It was hilarious, it took alllll night to eat the fondue, but hey we had some great conversation and some laughs so it was all good.

Sunday, rode Oats and the fun and successful work we were doing over poles/small fences completely disappeared. I have no idea WTF was going on but we were just not on the same wavelength….He was supermanning over everything, just taking huge flyers. I know he has issues with small fences= kowabunga!! He does not respect them, at all. Jeeesh, it was so ugly!

I gave up on that and was like, well, maybe some flat work is in order before you land on a jump and kill us both.

He’s still fun to ride but man, he needs to get in another jump lesson to start hiking those fences UP!

I did a practice run after riding, to see how my knee would handle things. Ran just under 6k, and it was quite shaky and kept threatening to dislocate to the left. Hmm…So, I am stuck trying to rehab it still.

That evening, I went to Hillside Mall’s ‘Night of  Lights’ event. The tickets were $5, and you came and shopped and there were some deals to be had. Honestly? I wouldn’t do it again. The deals were ‘eh’ and it was PACKED. Swarming with people, and quite overwhelming. I don’t like crowds on a good day, and so it was too much for me. Also people who don’t really walk, more like barely crawl, drives me absolutely bananas.

No thanks, not again. The ticket prices do go to charity, so that is at least a nice thing!

A lovely weekend, and I am again lucky to enjoy the great weather here in the PNW.

Race recap #2: MEC The Best Getter

Yep that’s right, what better than moving, racing on Saturday, and then racing on Sunday? NOTHING! That’s what!

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Photo courtesy of MEC Victoria–I love this shot!

I had originally signed up for the 15k, as I did it last year and 15ks are surprisingly hard to find these days, but because I was a lazy slob on holidays in Brazil and didn’t do any runs or knee workouts, my chronic knee injury (patella instability/subuluxation) flared up bigtime as soon as I started running again at home (yeah, I make great decisions).

So, I downgraded-ha- to the 5k. Let the games begin!!!

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I have no idea what I was doing here- a really funny high-five?

I also liked that the 5k started at 9am. I really didn’t want to get up too early, so sue me–I haven’t been sleeping well in my new townhome for some reason. Maybe because it feels so different and strange?

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More high-fives!!

We got there smoothly, it was no problem at all. We even had time to warm-up, which is something I pretty much never do, for some bad reason. I was a bit concerned with my knee issues and the fact that I had run up Mt. Doug the day before, but was also interested in giving it my all and seeing how I could challenge the 5k. And wow, I was challenged!!

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And they’re off!

I made sure to start near the top of the pack, and held a ridiculous pace for all of…1km (4:08, hahahah yeah no way). I was immediately out of breath, gasping. My next km plummeted to 4:32, which is what I typically run 10ks at, and it still felt really HARD. I bounced between 4:21-4:33 for a few kms, until the last km that I just.couldn’t.make.it.happen…and fell to 5:00. Wooow…not good. I got passed by two runners in the last km and I couldn’t make the time up at all.

I was gasping for breath, coughing up stuff and just, gross. I know 5ks are among my weakest distances, but I was still a bit bummed about how tough it felt for me.

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Leading the pack for a short time.

And how was my time? Surprisingly pretty good–22:15, and my previous 5k time was 22:17. So technically, a new personal best in the 5k–something I can’t complain about given how I had abused my legs running Mt. Doug the day before, and was generally exhausted from moving that week. I’ll take it, 5k…I’ll take it.

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Faces of pain…

I still kind of hate that distance though. I was feeling jealous of the 15k runners.

Kudos to the MEC Victoria team for putting on another well-run, super affordable, safe and friendly race. I will always support them for the fabulous effort they put into these race series–consider me a fan!!

VIRA Comox Half Marathon Race Recap!

I’d like to bring in a word here that everyone knows but probably didn’t know the original meaning until I heard it on iZombie last night…Egregious.

Shockingly bad, horrible, glaring.

But apparently it also used to mean awesome but terrible at the same time. So, going with that, I am going to use that term as it was originally planned to describe mine and my husband’s first half marathon of the season.

The awesome: Knocked a good 10 minutes off my personal time for the half marathon. Great eh?!! Why also bad?? (It was 1:45:42 gun and 1:45:37 net).

The bad: My husband did this while racing with a knee injury (terrible idea!) and was basically “Terry Foxing” it around the course the whole time. Eeek…It started when we were at 4k and we were feeling really good, and then he said his knee was going. But then he kept going?!! I kept saying he should step off the course, and why didn’t he, but then he said I would probably keep going too…So yeah he did it, but it wasn’t wonderful.

Also kind of bad: At the risk of too TMI- I have terrible stomach issues before racing, and thus went into this race feeling way under-fueled. I can get away with this for shorter distances but for the half it just about killed me. Such a bad idea, and I need to get it under control before my next race. I’ve let it go on wayyyy too long.

The race: The weather was actually super nice, chilly but not freezing, and most importantly– NOT raining! That would have put the literal damper on our already somewhat difficult day (pun intended).

It’s not a super hard course, but it does have a few hills that make life kind of miserable. They feel ok on the way up, then at the turnaround you start really questioning your will to live, and then you riiiiiide down the hills, feeling great! And then back up the smallest hill, and you die.

The track out was awesome. I was feeling good (despite actually being hungry going in due to my angry stomach), we were well on pace, ahead of it actually, turns out we would need that buffer zone, and rolling.

4k and my husband’s knee went funny, and up to the turnaround, 10k, started losing a bit of our happy place. We got passed a LOT on the way back (WTF??) which is not something I am used to having, and boy when you are suffering, it does crush the spirit more than a little!

We were kind of limping along, I was determinedly staring at the yellow line on the road in some sort of pain-zen state…We lost time a lot, and at 18k I definitely hit the wall. It felt like I was running uphill through a pool.

I know now that I was under-fueled and super dehydrated. I had sweat out EVERYTHING and was really struggling. My husband was not doing better, as he was behind me limping it out. I think if I see the photos I will laugh and cry about them! Man!

I managed to weakly ‘sprint’ past someone at the finish because I needed something to win on, and then immediately felt like I was going to faint. My vision started greying and getting blurry and I was staggering around shouting for my husband. Yuck, even thinking about it today makes me feel kind of sick.

That, friends, is how NOT to run a half-marathon. This is my weakest distance (next to the 5k) and it really showed me how unprepared I was, even though I felt like I was good for it. NOPE!

The food after was soooo good, lots of it, and the volunteers were great! Yummy chili, cheese, buns, cookies, chocolate milk and yogurt. I couldn’t eat a lot, felt pretty gross for awhile, but did manage to eat the yummy chili!

And that race taught me something very valuable- don’t get cocky. Respect the distance.

Race recap- MEC Race #4- ‘The Best Getter’ 15k

Yep, better late than never?!

I signed up for this one in a flurry of signing up for races- this one and some random trail race happening next weekend.

A photo where it actually looks like I'm running. No recent pics, so you get this old one.

A photo where it actually looks like I’m running. No recent pics, so you get this old one.

Then I ran the Gutbuster, and then my knee got wonky again, and I started dreading my initial burst of enthusiasm…Why was I signing up for this race? What was my motivation? 15K is still a distance to be respected so what did I think I was messing around with?

ARGH.

So, the knee thing. I went back to the knee doctor and he said relapses are normal, and the biggest part of having the knee problem I have is that it is a complete mystery and people often have no problems, until they have a problem. The hard part is the near-constant worry and paranoia about my knee going sideways and me being unable to complete a run. It can take 5 years to resolve, or may never completely resolve.

Greeatt….

But, to keep doing what I am doing- knee strength exercises, gait retraining, and do the race. See how it goes. The week before the race my knee was killing me. It felt horrible, shifty, sore, swollen under the kneecap, just really shitty. So, I took time off from doing everything, save riding Oats, to protect my knee and prepare for the race.

Turns out that time off really does a body good.

The day of the race the weather was super crummy. We showed up right on time (aka almost 9 minutes before the start eeek) and started the race. Right off the bat Ian set a fairly assertive pace, and to my surprise I was able to hold it – well for like 1km. Then we settled into a quieter pace and then ran that for close to the whole race! I was feeling actually awesome!

The trail portion of the run had me very concerned- the up/down stuff combined with uneven footing + 15k distance= knee disaster. BUT I got lucky! We held the pace well, and coming out of the two trail loops I still felt quite strong.

That good feeling started slipping when we did an out-and-back to Tillicum. Psychologically it was very difficult to think…”but why aren’t we going home yet” when it seemed like we were so close to the road to the finish.

But we stuck with it (which was great!) but then people started passing us (WTF?). Ah, racing…

I didn’t experience knee pain until the bridge, and then it immediately started feeling unstable. I was lucky to hold out that long, honestly, but I was very concerned with being able to finish with just 3km left! What a heartbreaker that would be!

I grimaced and I leaned on my right leg to compensate, and gritted out the last few kms. They were’t very good. I was trying to protect my knee just to finish, there was another small hill (???? why so close to the end!) and the finish line felt far away…

Then we were on the home stretch! We got passed here by a few people again- gah!

BUT we made our goal- under 1:15 with a time of 1:14:33!!! YEAH!!! That meant I was the 7th woman finisher out of 47, and we were 30-ish out of about 99 runners. Not a huge field but a very keen one.

I’m glad I did it. I may not have been at the time, but at points, I really felt like I knew what I was doing. Maybe there is something to this racing thing after all….

Except out of all the photos, no photos of us. BUMMER!!

A jumping weekend, with wild weather!

I didn’t ride Friday, though I was slightly tempted as I got off work earlier due to my changed schedule for the two days- had a nap instead! Guess I wasn’t that tempted.

From BC Day- wish this weather could last forever!

From BC Day- wish this weather could last forever!

Saturday the weather changed for the worse- blasting wind, threatening rain and generally unsettled. The trickiest part was that it was also sunny and warm, and then a huge gust of wind?

I tacked Oats up in the outdoor cross-ties and a big gust came up and blew a ton of saddle pads into the air! He spooked and I went to go pick the saddle pads up that were strewn everywhere, and while I was reaching to grab them, slipped and banged into the fence.

To add insult to injury, I went to grab the railing to stop myself from falling smack into the fence and immediately got a splinter from a thorn on the blackberry bushes. SHIT! And it is STILL jammed into my finger, after a failed attempt by my husband to needle that sucker out of there…I was howling and shrieking, so I slapped a band-aid on it and continued on my way. Ouch, not worth it!~

Not an auspicious start to my ride…

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When I was riding, Oats was high high high! Very frisky and looky, spooky and on-edge. The man who has been cleaning up the paddocks with the backhoe stopped by to ask a few questions (very friendly) with his dog, and Oats was kind of losing it! The dog! The man! Wind!!!!!!!

So …yeah.

My goal became clear- live through the ride.

We actually had a pretty nice ride once I gave up the idea that we had to deal with his scary areas ”the corner” being one we just flat out avoided on Saturday. Schooled him over some jumps I set as low x-rails, and then did a figure-eight type pattern of x-rail, to road closed panel, to diagonal x-rail, back to the first x-rail to ‘road closed’. That was fun!

Ended it at that, as I didn’t want to end up on the ground…

And of course, when I had Oats back in the cross-rails, another saddle pad went flying and he spooked again. SIGH.

Turns out it was well and good I rode early, as the wind only got worse as the day went on. When I came in for my ride on Sunday, I had to pick up tree branches and the barn shutter that went flying in the windstorm. I could only picture a house being picked up with ‘Auntie Em’ echoing in the background!

Rode in the indoor on Sunday and felt kind of not enthusiastic. I wanted to gallop in the field, but figured that was off limits due to the rain…Blah. We worked over a tiny x-rail to establish pace and nailed our distances to it everytime! This is after I trotted him over it and he fell over it twice- fell! So, canter it was, and canter it went!

I then did some no-stirrups work that felt ok but still fairly punishing…

Wanted to save my legs for a run I had planned later in the day. The run itself went ok but I was SO PARANOID about my knee blowing up on me. I couldn’t really enjoy it as much as I wanted to, I didn’t have that ‘free’ feeling at all. Gah…At the turnaround I was so sure this was it, I couldn’t run anymore. But then we did turn around, and I was ok again?

Today my legs feel fine though, so….

Fingers crossed?!

More BC day

More BC day

Also of note- I tried Krema’s Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Spice flavour and loved it!

Also tried the new Strawberry Shortcake Frapp from Starbucks- and blah. Wouldn’t have it again. They don’t serve the S’mores flavour, which I am SO bummed about. ARGH.

Oh and we went to the Island’s Greek festival after Starbucks and our run, and enjoyed a nice gyros platter. Yummmy!

Merville 15k race recap!

Yup, time for another race recap. We haven’t raced since our run in Comox at the half-marathon, so I was curious about how this one would feel. I’ve never raced a 15k before, in fact, only trained to run 15k once! (While we were building up our mileage for the half-marathon, actually). So…I went into this one cautiously optimistic, but still wanting to be realistic.

15k and done!!

15k and done!!

You may be asking, where is Merville? Good question! Merville is a tiny collection of houses and farms (TONS of horse farms, to my delight!) about 15 minutes north of Courtenay/Comox. It is also sort of the same area as my favourite berry winery, Coastal Black, in the Black Creek area. It is approximately 3.5 hours from Victoria, so it was a bit of a trek for us, and included an overnight stay at my in-laws farm, which they have been very gracious about.

It's true

It’s true

We met at the Merville community centre, which is tiny! The race itself started down the road a ways, which kind of meant we had a mandatory warm up, and at the end of the race, cool-down, to get back to the community centre (food!!).

The course was good: Flat, the road wasn’t too slanted, which is what gave us trouble during the half-marathon, and we managed to get out ahead of the slow crowd fairly quickly. I felt good, strong and fairly ‘floaty’ for 5km, and then between 5-9 still felt fairly good…But at around 10-11km, my left knee started twinging VERY unpleasantly. I have a super-wiggly kneecap, and when my legs get tired, they stop supporting it and let it fly off to the left- and yes, it is as painful as it sounds!

My legs were getting tired, the pavement felt like it was starting to drag down my feet (running in quicksand??) and bam! My knee was starting to let me know it was not ok.

From 11km-15, I was cursing and sort of starting to limp and just hoping hoping hoping I could finish. I was so close, I could almost taste it! This is also when the course started devolving into an open road, and the traffic situation was getting a little…hairy!

I somehow (on a prayer basically) managed to make it to the 100m sprint lined by a alleyway of flags!! It felt very special haha. I was gasping and heaving by the end, it was not a pretty sight. They had port-a-potties at the end (thank GOD! I had to pee the entire race gahhh!) and water, oranges, bananas and gummi bears. I grabbed a bunch, and we made our way back to the community centre for a delicious lunch.

The soup they offered was sooo good- I had beef/barley, and Ian had butternut squash. Yum! We ended up leaving shortly afterward to hit up the Cumberland Brewery for a post-race beer (and they were so awesome, I highly recommend visiting that brewery if you’re up-island. Good beer, great folks, nice place!!).

Post-run beer at Cumberland Brewery

Post-run beer at Cumberland Brewery

And the best news? This was not quite as competitive a race (fewer runners) so I placed 10th out of 21 with my time of 1:17:34 (chip, not bib time) and Ian placed 5th out of 7 but his sprint was 8th overall- out of like 275 runners! Crazy eh!!? The biggest zinger for me was that I got beat by the 9th place runner by 1 second?!! Oooooh!

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!