Summer-born

This weekend (my birthday weekend) was very much a good news/bad news kind of time.

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From our successful Sooke Saddle Club show- things were going so well, until they weren’t! Photos are courtesy of Eila Zylak.Ā 

Good news: Oats can be ridden in the indoor and in the field!

Bad news: Lame in the outdoor. And weirdly a total nut in the indoor, afraid of the person door??

Good news: The weather was so great!

Bad news: Still chilly in James Bay.

Good news: LOTS of fun friend interactions!

Bad news: I had lots of fun friend interactions because I couldn’t take my lame horse in the horse show, so I went to watch instead. I felt a bit jealous!

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Stretchy trot. Good relaxation but could use more stretch?

UGH. Well, oh well. I did a lot of running, some riding, some sweating, some shopping, lots of eating and enjoying time with my friends and family. So that is ok. I miss riding and jumping in the outdoor though, and had some super fun gallops in the field, where Oats seemed completely sound, only to find him head-bobbing lame in the outdoor arena the next day. (Though ok in the indoor?) It really does seem like what the vet said on Wednesday is true- some sort of heel bruise… Ugh. Takes time I guess.

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I was so glad I took an extra day off, to just enjoy myself. That is the biggest and best gift I could give to myself. AND I bought myself a cool Arista Sunstopper long sleeved shirt that I have been wanting for a year! AND my amazing horse friends bought Oats pink brushing boots?! Can you believe it? WOW! How lucky am I?

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Now he just needs to get better so we can waltz around our jump courses flashing pink!

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Hold on, hold on

So…After my exciting, energy draining weekend I was looking forward to settling down and working on some good stuff (like, not falling off jumping is a big one that I am apparently incapable of doing right now…).

And I had a great ride on Tuesday- no lesson, just cruising around in the field. Oats felt great, I was chill, everything was nice. I had some high hopes for my lesson on Wednesday, looking forward to it and feeling like generally, everything is pretty fine. I spent the day loving photos of Oats from the Derby and feeling pretty much on top of the world!

Except I wasn’t.

I came into my lesson not feeling angsty, or strange or stressed or anything…And then it became immediately clear that this was NOT my day, or Oats’. He started off spooky, looking at everything and ‘startling’ constantly. I don’t do well when he is like this- it sets me off in a really BIG way- and I started having trouble managing the situation. We warmed up okay nevertheless, and he kept startling and being spooky and looky. Sadly, this only got worse as we continued on…

It started pissing me off, more and more. We went to work over trot poles to eventually build a gymnastic (not something new in our world, pretty ho-hum) and Oats COULD NOT GET HIS SHIT TOGETHER. He trotted, fumbled, tripped, stumbled, fell and just fucked around, adding in some startles that literally set my teeth on edge.

I couldn’t manage. Like, I was riding and shouting ”IĀ HATE this horse.” UGh.

Normally, when he’s like this, we can deal and get through it. But this time? Oh, no.

We slowly worked our way to a small x- rail to another x-rail, and Oats bizarrely managed to trip on the last pole, catch it hard between his hind hoofies, almost fall and sting himself so badly with this weirdness that he was limping?!!!!

I was ready to jump off- I was worried he’d really hurt himself! But Nicole convinced me to keep walking him out and eventually he worked out of it. He was just surprised. Still, wow, WTF is going on with me/my horse? I just was crying in disbelief.

So, back to the drawing board.

He trotted out okay, and then we went back to poles. Poles are ok. Then, the small x-rail…That was ok too. Then add in another x-rail, to a small vertical. The wheels immediately fell off again- Oats stumbled, tripped into the vertical, and my whole arm went through the reins. EFFFFF!!

I lost my shit. I yanked him up, Ā and burst into tears.

I was in the middle of probably the biggest horse-related meltdown I’ve had since…Oh, maybe a really bad dressage lesson last year, when I got off and cried?

Weird, so weird. I just couldn’t cope, or manage the situation with Oats at all. I wanted to yell, shout, scream, cry and just freak out. We ended up walking, walking, walking and breathing. Oats seemed not fazed at all, but wow, I was. In a big way.

Finally, when I was able to calm down and manage my emotions, we cantered over a few small x-rails, which were totally fine and rode great. He was still looky as hell, but it was ok.

SIGHHH

I cried a bit later, telling my friend about the ride. And then when I dismounted and was walking Oats through the gate, I went to latch it and he spooked so hard he almost fell into the gate. WTF? He is not a spooky horse…So yeah, not sure what was going on with him yesterday, but whatever it was, it sucked out loud.

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 onĀ 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 controlĀ before my next race. I’ve let it go on wayyyy too long.

The race:Ā 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 neededĀ 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.