You always remember your first: Marathon recap!

So, I did it. Like any good runner, you turn into a cliche: The marathon runner. SIGH!

Looking fresher than I felt…

I held out for a long time, chiefly because I couldn’t stay healthy enough to train, let alone race, that type of distance. I got a few stress fractures (when people talk about shin splints, they have NO IDEA how bad they can get. Source: me) and I wasn’t able to walk very well so goodbyeee race plans! And then a pandemic, and then another set of stress fractures, and well you know the whole story!

So, this was my time to shine- clearly.

I did train fairly well with a ridiculously ambitious training plan (for people aiming to get under 3:30, and I can tell you the plan was NUTS and clearly designed more for people trying to get closer to a 3:15, in my opinion!).

But…the bugaboos are always there. The gerbils were running wild in my head, I was so anxious. It’s not a joke of a distance and I was aiming for an aggressive time. I chatted with a few runners I knew at the start and told them my time goals and they thought they were agreeable, but when I was pacing with a guy we chatted too and he was surprised that my time goals were that ambitious for my first…So I was kind of knotted up in uncertainty. Go big or go home??

I had a lot of nightmares about the race leading up to the day. Two back to back nightmares about missing the start? Hah. Weird.

The morning was anticlimactic. There was a heat warning for the race, as we are having an incredibly unseasonably warm October- this was the warmest this race had ever been, at just over 20 degrees when we were running! This added to my freakout…

We jogged to the start (a huge bonus of doing a hometown race. Zero travel!) and got into position. The wheels in my brain started to churn- there was NO pacers. None. I was really counting on one, given I am a newbie…And kind of left the idea of pacing to someone else. Big mistake!

But no time to worry, time to focus! We started and it was very congested and very slow. The half marathon started with us, and many racers (half and marathon alike) pretty much went to the front and started…walking. I spent a lot of time and energy weaving, because I am an idiot.

Looks better than it felt

I felt tired right away- good omen eh? The first 10k were uneventful, I had some candy in my pockets and I ate those. It was hilly and winding, very congested. We wouldn’t lose the halfers until about KM 14 I think?

Because of how dangerous the heat could be, I made sure to stop at every.single.water.stop. No skipping- not even one. I don’t normally even go for water in a half, but I knew that could literally kill me this time. I respected the heat warning, and in fact got so hot I started grabbing multiple waters (one to drink, one to dump down my chest).

I was so thirsty. SO thirsty.

My pacing (despite not running tangents due to crowds) was fairly even up until the half way point. I caught a few too fast KMs (4:23s) and toned it down. I’m still so green at this distance…I know it can mess you up badly. By the time we got to the half way point I was hanging on, but also starting to feel concerned…and like maybe this was a bad idea… The tightness in my right hamstring really started to call out to me.

Hah, joke’s on me. It only gets worse from there on!

At around Km 33, the wheels in my brain fell off and I wanted to

a. cry,

b. leave the course immediately and probably

c. get hurt so I wouldn’t have to finish.

Sweat was pouring off me, my core temperature was going crazy and I just couldn’t think straight. I ate a few more Xact Nutrition bars (clumsily, with sugar crystals coating my face, the bar a mushy mess in my mouth) and just tried to hang.

I bounced around with one of my friends until I thought he left me in the dust. I was feeling lightheaded and hot, so hot. After KM 36 or so, it honestly felt like time was slowing down. Everyone was moving in slow-motion, arcing in front of me but still going too fast for me to catch up. My legs, arms, body wouldn’t go faster.

I also tossed an almost full water cup straight into the chest of a volunteer (sorry!) who was standing in front of the trash cans and didn’t move when I was mumbling excuse me as I ran by. There was someone running in a full rhino suit- can you believe it!! It was SO hot man. Woof.

It was pretty funny in retrospect!

I had this thought: Get to KM 39 and THEN you can fall apart.

But then I got there, and the finish seemed so close!! (until you realize it’s still like 3km of winding). Any small amount of hill that normally wouldn’t bother me seemed like Mt. Everest. I wanted to walk so badly, I even stopped at the final water aid station (2km left) to drink in hopes it’d power me further. On a regular day no way would I stop that late in the race!

Clearly I was desperate 😉

Ian was going to watch me and I planned to spy him, but when it came I was so zonked out that I couldn’t do anything but stare straight ahead, and breathe with my mouth open. Hah. He did the half marathon (and got a very solid time!).

My time! Finally! It was good too, 3:17:38 (chip)

I jogged weakly through the finish, saw a chair and sat in it for a bit, then got up and got my medal. The snack volunteers were like: You want a banana or an apple? And my brain was so destroyed that I couldn’t figure out wtf they were asking me. So, I ended up with a banana and then went to the next volunteer and got the apple bag- hah.

I hung around waiting for Ian, and when I couldn’t find him decided to start walking home gingerly. I spotted him in the field of the Legislature and I was soooo glad because then I could lean on him to hobble home! We got home, I couldn’t take my shoes off so I sat on the stairs so Ian could take them off. The aftermath was prettttty hideous. But I hopped in an epsom salt bath for 30 mins and listened to a podcast (Gidget kept coming in to check on me!! ha she is so sweet) and then we were up and walking back downtown to beer festival. Crazy eh? It was SO GOOD!!! I loved it! It was amazing.

Ouch. Still healing these bad boys today!

And then I walked home feeling pretty drunk but probably just tired and lay on the grass for awhile. Good end to a good day. At that point I told Ian I was NEVER going to run another marathon ever.

We’ll see ??

Well earned 😉

A plant-based extravaganza with House of Boateng and YAM!

Ian and I were incredibly fortunate to win a fantastic 10-course tasting experience with Chef Castro at House of Boateng, thanks to YAM Magazine!

A great event!

It was a few weeks ago, but things have been SUUUPER nuts lately, so only now I am able to sit down and write all about it- it was lovely!

I bought us a few drinks (glasses of wine, that we both turned out to be incredibly allergic to unfortunately and made for a very challenging next day, ugh) and the dinner was set!

We started with a simple riff on caprese salad with tomatoes, and moved on to a tasty soup (was supposed to be served chilled, but it was served warm- which I was thankful for, I was absolutely FREEZING for the night, hah).

Roasted chilled white beets were good, but I was kind of getting concerned…so small…and I was so hungry!

The jalapeno that was stuffed was hilarious- apparently there is a lot of variability, mine was fine so I chowed down, while almost everyone sitting at the long table with us was freaking out it was so hot!! HAHAH.

The mushroom wrap was lovely, kind of like a green taco?

And who doesn’t like a hot dog (vegan!)

The squash noodles were lovely as well…

But the real standouts were the roasted white yam- AMAZING and complex flavours. Fantastic! A depth I never thought was possible with plant based!

And so was the finale- the King Oyster mushroom- very steak-like, tons of umami flavour. Delish!

Dessert was hilarious- literally carrots?! Not sweet at all- but worked with the cashew cream and balanced the sweet meringue nicely. A great way to end the (super long, omg we got home after 11am!) night. 🙂

Am I now a plant-based convert? Nope. It was very fun and an amazing way to try a huge variety of chef-specialties, but I did find myself missing the mouthfeel of cheese or meat. I did think the menu ‘built up’ better in vegan than meat-based, but it also leaves you hungrier, hah. We had to definitely eat all of the 10 courses to feel full.

Thank you to Chef Castro and YAM- amazing opportunity!!

Double the fun at Fairlawn Stables!

We took the opportunity to do a field trip on the weekend to try out our dressage trainer’s amazing new footing at her farm, Fairlawn. It’s also a gorgeous facility, so huge and spacious and bright so why not !?!

The ponies were…less than thrilled to see the trailer pull up again (Two WEEKS in a row?) but got onboard when we were there 🙂

And I said: Let’s do something FUN! That’s all I want to do now, lol. I only have less than a month left here, so let’s make the most of it and really enjoy ourselves, so that is the lesson we got- a pas de deux lesson with the two dudes!

And they are so cute together, I think they’re really figuring out how to rate with each other!! And Becky and I only forgot where we were going once or twice I think 😉 The horses picked it up faster than we did.

We then enjoyed a little cruise around the fields after, as they have a lovely little pond you can ride around. The boys were very well behaved, and it was just such a fun and chill atmosphere. Can you ask for any better? Plus the weather has been amazing lately…chilly today, but far, far above the seasonal temps for Oct. We’re stuck in the groundhog day of my dreams…An endless summer!

South Island Riding Club Gymkhana #2

Another fun day! Wow this fall has been sooo busy, I can’t keep up! This is a new club and I am loving their ethos- low key, supportive and fun 🙂 Oats and I are NOT fast but as English riders, we are welcomed and having a blast.

Yessss keyhole!

We did barrel racing (our weakest), pole bending, keyhole, surprise class and stake class. They were such fun and I borrowed hoof boots so Oats would be comfy this time. He was still very unhurried, lol, but he’s a solid citizen and very safe to show at this venue. Also, the Western horses all had a meltdown about the miniature x-rail in the keyhole lol so that was Oats’ time to shine!

Friends!

We won the keyhole and might have won the surprise class (holding a lacrosse stick with a ball in it, you ride the stake pattern and on the way back, you deposit the ball from the lacrosse net into a basket!) Oats was a superstar about it 🙂

Love my boy! We also had our friends come, including Oats’ leasor, and it was really awesome to see everyone out again on such a gorgeous day.

On our way, Oats didn’t even try to kill everyone in the trailer this time!

I only drink when I’m drunk

Saw this on a Spotify playlist yesterday and man, I’m hooked.

100% worth it

Actually, I am not really drinking intentionally right now (trying to take a break, for health and you know, those reasons) but I have been very much enjoying my weekends, boozy or not 😉

We have had so many fun times, where to begin…We went to the Cobble Hill the other weekend and now it costs $10 to get in (not worth it) and it was a freaking ZOO with the most ill-behaved little monsters running around. I couldn’t handle it, ughh. I was overwhelmed and couldn’t manage to be in the same outdoors space as all of these little assholes running wild. NO THANKS. Yuck.

Where is the hay seed sticking out of his teeth?

We didn’t stay that long, thankfully (and I cancelled my ideas to go to the Saanich Fair. Do that again? NOPE!). We then had approximately 100 errands to run, haha. Pick up a sweater I forgot at the horse show site, visit a cidery (Valley Cider, it was lovely!), go to Merridale too, and best of all- I bought the most insane Caesar possible. Friends, you haven’t lived until you have eaten the Coast Caesar!

Feast your eyes… And it did cost a cool $40, so maybe make it a once-in-a-lifetime treat eh?

A thing of beauty. It was also a triple, so that meant the rest of my day was very fuzzy…

And then on the Sunday, Ian and I did a long run of 24k and I got changed quickly and went to the James Bay BBQ with my friend Amaka. We listened to live music, I brought Gidget and we ate and ate and ate. Man! The BBQ was incredibly generous- as many jumbo dogs as you can eat (so, like I saved half of mine b/c i was too full), ice cream, freezies, bananas, cake, chocolate chip cookies. It was a feast!! What a great day 🙂

Fun day in the sun with a friend!
Gidget got a lot of treats that day.
Gidget also likes friends 🙂

Ian and I also caught Phillips ‘Dino Sour’ patio party on a random Thursday. I got back early from my lesson and saw a biiiggg lineup…And almost bailed. But then we got in, and while it was busy, we ordered our drinks and got in, and out pretty quick. I had the Dino sour slushy and bought a few sleeves of the other random ‘dino sour’ flavours. One was a very hideous swampy-green cask-conditioned salted plum sour and wow did it look horrible! Tasted ok though.

Dino Sour night!

Show your PRIDE!

Phew, after a suuuper long day at the horse show on Sunday, I got home around 6-ish and we immediately zipped out to catch the last of Pride.

The Pride parade and festival happens every year, and ends up at the park near our house, we can just walk over! It was also extremely HOT out so I was kind of glad it was a bit shadier. Lol and of course, it’s 16 degrees and chilly/grey out today. Man, this weather!

Mr. Oats is immortalized

In a painting! I commissioned a painting of him earlier this year, and was able to pick it up two weeks ago, when I was grabbing my race bib for the Oak Bay half actually.

Stunning! Artist is Linda Stagg

I love it so much!! The artist is a colleague of mine and incredibly talented 🙂

And this is the photo inspiration! Isn’t it amazing what she did?

And how is the old boy? Oh being a terror, like usual 😉 On Saturday I rode, and then let him have turnout while I cleaned his disgusting horse blankets, and then went to bring him in- he can’t be on grass for too long right now, it’s too rich and he is a Cushings pony so too much grass is a big no-no…And I watched as he freaking BLEW past me, and galloped into the farm yard. He went from paddock to paddock, fighting and instigating chaos with each horse. Every time I went to get him, he basically charged past me or AT me. Asshole.

He then went back into his own paddock? Weird.

Guess he’s a time-limited terror?

From the scene of the crime…He looks so innocent but he definitely is NOT

He’s been super fun in my dressage lessons, mixing in a little test-practice, with some little fences, all kinds of little things to do and all fun! I haven’t had a Working Equitation lesson in awhile, due to being away in Port Townsend, the race, and then this weekend I didn’t have my car (because I was supposed to be in a bachelorette party, which got cancelled)…So I am hoping we can revisit WE practice this weekend.

He does really enjoy it, and I’m hoping there is a WE show in Aug. so we can strut our stuff! (but NO BANKS PLEASE jesus).

Port Townsend #3: Rhody Run 10k

That’s right, what kind of moron goes on holidays and signs up for a race, last-minute?

Yeah, haha. This moron!

It was very much on a whim. I saw that they had a race as part of their annual rhododendron festival called ‘Rhody Run’ and was like yep that’s it. I’m signing up! And sooo I did, haha. I couldn’t sign up only due to entries being maxed out, but they were allowing the day-before registration so we spent the day out at Fort Worden and then swung by the Fairgrounds around 3pm to sign up, and it was effortless, took 10 mins. Then the race was the next morning!

Ian got to dig through shirts to find one I wanted to wear, and off we went!

Of course we’d walked over 10k that day alone, and basically spend the rest of the afternoon drinking beer, but heyyyy…why not do a race? I slept HORRIBLY the entire weekend, which was the only downer part of the time but oh well.

Sunday dawned bright and early and we were back at the Fairgrounds (ok like a 7 minute drive hahahah) and I had my bib on ready to race!

Pre-race

The race had so many participants, they said it was a record sell-out. They had 10k and then 5k starting immediately afterwards. We got in line and were off!

Not gonna lie, I was hot already. I was very unused to the sun (hello, it hasn’t been sunny and warm for ONE day here in Victoria..not one day) and I was wearing long sleeves, gloves, long pants to run in every single day and freezing. So I ended up wearing my sleeping shorts for the race, hahah since I had only packed long pants/spandex tights due to it being so miserably cold the entire ‘spring’.

It was a challenging course, a few rolling hills and then QUITE the hill at oh… KM 5-6 I think? I can’t remember exactly other than cursing myself for signing up hahaha. Also someone was playing Vangelis’ Chariots of Fire soundtrack at like KM 3 and it made me feel really good, like Rocky!!

There was one screaming downhill at like KM 7 I think, and wow it was nuttssss…I was pretty sure I was going to fall hahah.

I was running alone a lot, there was one guy ahead of me who stopped to walk at like KM 8? The top woman was unreachable to me, but I held 2nd place the entire way which felt really nice 🙂

Zipped to the finish, and immediately took off my shirt, I was so hot. Also forgot that I’d packed my worst, saggiest sports bra b/c I really didn’t think we’d be running that much. Hah, whoops! Then the marine fog rolled in and I felt cold again.

We enjoyed some post-race snacks and Ian snapped some pics for me, and I was the happy recipient of a medal for first in my AG and a $200 gift card to Amazon for being second female. YEAH!!! Thanks Port Townsend, you rock!!

Next up: Fourth and final farewell to Port Townsend

Hatley Castle 8k Race Recap

Wow- two years since I last raced this series, and almost two since I raced- period! I did two little races this fall, to whet my appetite to get back out there 🙂 and I can tell you by this race, I was READY.

Pretty much dying, ha my neck is straining so hard! Photo courtesy of Lois D’Ell.

We missed two of the VIRA races- the first one was cancelled due to snow/ice, and we were in Mexico for the second (oh what a hardship eh??) so I was feeling eager for this one. I know Hatley is a tough course, kind of a heartbreaker for people hoping for a good time due to the rolling hills, steep hills, and gravel/trail sections but no matter we were racing again!

The weather was SO nice. Like, amazing. Too bad it’s absolutely miserable right now, lol I am dying it is so cold. Last week the sun was shining and it was around 10 deg? We didn’t need to dress warmly for Hatley, which is funny b/c I swear every photo I have from that race there is snow on the ground, or ice, or it’s hailing and we are frozen.

I know it looks like I’m walking, but I swear it was hard!

We started a bit late hilariously because the main gate was still locked, so they had to go get big snippers to cut the lock off!?!

So good thing it was so warm.

The start is very congested- I started fairly close up, but was still bouncing off folks for a good…1km. Ouch, that does hurt your time a bit. When you pass 1k and start heading to the first out-and-back hill, it thins out greatly. I was passing/getting passed a fair bit until kms 3-4, where I just got…passed, ha. I was running in a bit of a ‘reach’ pace I think, particularly for my inexperience in racing over the past two years (and no hills…and a serious injury…lol). But I kept at it! It felt pretty horrible but, a horrible I could maintain.

Something fun- this time I was ahead of Ian. So when we had two out-and-backs (km 2-3, and km 5-6) he waved to ME this time! 🙂 Now that’s a first!

I had to add this one b/c it makes me laugh. Photo by Lois D’Ell.

I thought I was running pretty well through the trail section but I was definitely slowing down. The transition from the trail to the ridge, and then the loooooong downhill, was much longer than I recalled/wanted. I hit the downhill and immediately felt like I was one step away from face planting most spectacularly, yiiiikes! I am not used to running fast downhill and it was freaky.

Then it was roughly 1km to the finish, and I did…Not run super triumphantly, ha. I was straining, it was rough. BUT then there was the finish! 🙂

And I did it! Gun time was 34:13, and that makes a 2 minute personal best for me on this course. I was really happy with that, not shabby at all. I, of course, coughed my lungs out for the next three days…Racing is extremely hard on my lungs, quelle surprise!

Ian finished shortly after me, and we cruised up to get our snack bags and surprise! Sweet swag in it. An Endur hat AND I won a door prize- a super soft t-shirt 🙂 how awesome is that?!!!

A gorgeous day and a good race. Life is returning to normal (at least sometimes).