VIRA Race Recap: Comox Half Marathon!

So yeah, this blog right now is just for race recaps apparently. I have a good reason for it- I have been under an insane amount of pressure at work, and starting to crack. I haven’t had any time/inclination to blog because the only things I’d write are about how unhappy I am, and how miserable things are.

So…Please consider that warning for the next, oh, three weeks. Things are not great in my world in one particular area, and it’s killing my motivation, desire and will to live. OH well. This is also time sensitive so hopefully in three weeks I can be happier.

Comox

Me and a Bastion Run Club guy. Incidentally, the photo is also by Bastion Run Club! 🙂

Without further ado…the big race!!!

It was a GLORIOUS day to race. Sunny skies, not too cold, not windy, not raining?!! A lovely day all around. I was so happy to just be out, doing my thing. The volunteers at this race are fantastic- so cheery and fun, and encouraging. I just love them 🙂

I had a pretty significant head cold the entire week leading up the race. I was exhausted, coughing, sinus pain & pressure, ear pressure/pain that kept me from work on Friday even? And just feeling super shitty and blah. Spent most of the weekend either laying on the couch or sleeping. So sick+overwhelmed at work= success?!!

Something like that at least! I swear I wasn’t the only one blowing my nose at the start on the race.

I didn’t really have high hopes for the race. I wanted to complete it, chiefly because you have to race the half marathon to be eligible for series awards at the end of the season. Other than that, I was kind of just hoping to not collapse or something.

Off we went, and I started very conservatively. Very. Like, 4:49 conservatively, ha. And it felt hard…I kind of felt like dying for oh, the first 9km. It doesn’t help that the course is an out-and-back, and the out part is a lot of uphills. Still, I stayed present and kept an eye on people. I wasn’t ready to make any moves yet, but I could see some people who were foolishly tearing out before the 5km marker–I knew they wouldn’t last. It’s a looooong race, guys.

I grabbed electrolyte drink at 7km (bizarrely it was clear) and focused on making it up the hills between 7-9km. It was kind of horrible.

I started making my move after 11km. Then, we were flying downhill and I was feeling ok- not great, but that I could actually do this. Run a competent, solid race. I was making it happen! Fortunately or unfortunately for me, every time I tried to pick up the pace I couldn’t breathe, so it forced me to maintain a very manageable pace instead of flying and dying like I kind of wanted to…

At 18km, I felt like staggering. I couldn’t believe there was so much left. My legs were done! I felt sorry for myself until I passed the runner ahead of me. WHa?

Why is she letting this happen? Letting me pass her at 18? Suddenly I could run again, I was doing ok and making it!!! WOW! I never have that feeling this late in the game.

I cruised up to the finish line with a blistering (ha) 5:00km pace – ok, it felt fast anyways.

And I didn’t even feel that bad! WOAH!

We had the best food after too- chili, with buns and cheese 🙂 YUM!!! Oh and my husband finished with a crazy fast time- he got 1:34, while I got 1:44. I was very pleased with my time too, as this is now my personal best for the half marathon. I have a feeling that I can do better now.

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Like trying to describe a dream

Had an intense dressage lesson last night. A semi-private, and man, we worked it.

Mr. Handsome- photo credit to Hannah R.

Mr. Handsome- photo credit to Hannah R.

It started off pretty simple, picking up where we left it last week with the deep inner bend & forward. And then it moved to deep inner bend & collected/short but very forward trot (sitting), and then a ‘5’ trot sitting, and then a ‘6’ trot sitting, and circling at all 4 corners of the arena, and then 4-5 strides of canter in each circle, all while maintaining a good ‘sit’ and forward.

It was SO COOL! I was like, woahh…It felt like what what I think a canter pirouette might feel like? Given I have never in my life done those…

It was a big lesson- exhausting and very thorough. I was really pleased with Oats. His try was 100% last night, and I was very impressed with how he was handling the exercises. Of course, he’s never perfect but man, he has been going really nicely lately and trust me I am not taking it for granted! I was thinking about how hard and boring dressage is to describe to people. It’s like trying to describe your dreams- either they don’t care, or they don’t understand.

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He was like this sweaty…Except he is now clipped. Phew!!

He was very sweaty when we finished, and I was admiring his neck muscles. He looks like a different horse now, from when I first bought him, to even last year when we had finished up our 1 year of dressage training. Look at what our 2nd year has brought us! I love it! All the tears, frustration, anger and pissyness on Oats’ end have been really paying off.

Naturally, I am not dumb enough to think that we’re on the smooth path to success now- hah, with horses? Nope, not realistic. BUT, I’m seeing/feeling some really awesome things. I even let myself do a little day-dreaming about how nice that ride felt, very powerful, when I walked to work this morning.

Oats being Oats, he also had to do something to make me really annoyed after my ride…I was raking down the arena- it has terrible deep spots now where the clay is coming up from the ground! And he rolled with my saddle on! GAH!

Yeah, guess he was that sweaty and it felt sooooo good…argh.

Being ok with riding ok?

So, not a ton to report on the riding front. As I mentioned my jump lesson on Thursday was more of a ‘deal with the weird issue that is cropping up’ and that was dealt with…

Saturday he was ok, not great, just ok. My rides have certainly been feeling ‘blah’ lately so I rode, and we worked through some stuff and it was fine but I never really got that ‘ YES ‘ feeling that I am looking for. We also worked on some therapy- anxiety training after my ride, with Oats wearing a bareback pad and me getting led around on him, working on my breathing. It was good, and he was very cooperative. Bit by bit, I suppose.

I do still wonder if I am making progress with my anxiety? But it just isn’t something you can really ‘measure’ you know…

Sunday was a quickie ride, as we had a full day planned that consisted of floating at Thetis Lake (yeah summer is HERE!) and then going downtown for ‘Car-Free Day’ which was a blast! Oats was good, again not ‘great’ or anything to write home about. We worked on lumpy bumpy transitions, some awkward, some ok, nothing wonderful.

UGH though on our way back up to the barn, a pony was snoozing in the field (Elmo), and I laughed and was like oh cute Elmo, he look dead! Well, apparently Oats thought so too, and when Elmo got up, Oats LOST HIS SHIT I guess assuming Elmo had since risen from the dead…I was on a runaway who was losing his mind, and couldn’t decide if he should bolt up the hill, run sideways and jump over the fence, or c. what he actually did, which was run backwards into the blackberry bushes, snorting and freaking out. I leapt off, my water bottle went flying, and I managed to grab the reins back.

Jesus.

He was still snorting and freaking out, and we walked calmly back up to the barn.

Horses….

I do have a lesson tonight, dressage, so we SHALL SEE!

You wear where you’re from like a second skin

Oats update~ Did a jumping lesson yesterday and it was a short one (did a warm up on my own and we went straight into jumping) and miracle of miracles, we had some of the best gridwork to date!

Cutie

Cutie

It was funny, because I was NOT expecting greatness. I was complaining to one of the lesson kids about how I hate gymnastics, the trot-in part is so awkward, and Oats tends to die out really easily…It’s just so blah.

But yesterday it wasn’t!

We did a small x-rail one-stride to a large x-rail as the gymnastic part, and then a vertical on the diagonal, to a two-stride, to a small oxer on the rail, back to the vertical on  the diagonal.

I was feeling pretty good with myself and Oats when we started the gymnastic- so smooth, and my position felt great! I felt like a hunter princess, hahah. We then worked over the raised x-rail and for some funny reason, even though it got bigger and bigger, it just never looked, ‘that impressive’ you know? It just felt like, eh, another x-rail- even though the middle of it was probably the same height as an oxer combination that was like giving me heart palpitations a few weeks ago!?

Go pony!

Go pony!

We kind of bungled the two-stride (ran out of impulsion, a chip) still like, made the strides but it wasn’t as pretty- but all the other jumps were NICE! And then we gathered up some steam and WENT at the two-stride and that one went fantastic!

It’s lessons like this that make me feel like Oats and I are working together as a team- yeehaw!!!

Plus- for some reason I just didn’t get as jazzed as I normally do. I felt very like, ho hum, about the size/level/complexity of the jumps and course. For me, that is a big accomplishment. Typically, I am a ball of anxiety about the jumps and raising them and oh, everything! This time, I was very zen about it, and just felt like, oh sure, yep can do.

I like that feeling. I want more of it! Go pony!

Throwback Thursday: I love Lucy

Yeah, sentimental old me- lately I feel like I’ve been saying to people- hey stop with the mare-bashing, some of the NICEST horses I’ve had have been mares! (ok, so maybe I just leased them, but man, i loved those girls!).

One such mare was Lucy, who is now a school horse with her owner Cathy Harrison, with the Harrison School of Horsemanship. I rode her when I was getting back into riding during university, after having take a year or so off.

I started riding at Bear Hill with Cathy when it was still operating. Lucy was very good to me, as an adult coming back after a year or more off, and we took to jumping together really well. I would have loved to buy her- I recall she was going for $4,500 but I couldn’t afford a horse at the time (broke university student!) and felt really glad that she was going with her current trainer to be her school horse.

I remember snowy days, misty days, cold days, rainy days. All good days when I was getting back in the saddle.

Without further ado- photos of Lucy- loved that girl!

Go girl!

Go girl!

Misty day- hard to believe this was almost 10 years ago?

Misty day- hard to believe this was almost 10 years ago?

I have a painting of this one!

I have a painting of this one!

Lucy at Bear Hill

Lucy at Bear Hill

Flasback Friday: Burnaby edition!

Time for some flashbacks! Enjoy these blasts from the past, from my time at Burnaby Horsemen’s Association.

Ardie 'The old man'

Ardie ‘The old man’

I know I usually do these on Thursdays, but I did get a bit distracted writing about my husband so today will have to do!

Ardie 'Last Round'

Ardie ‘Last Round’

I know I’ve mentioned before that I rode for awhile in Burnaby- Burnaby Lake to be specific. They run the Burnaby Horsemen’s Association out of the park, and it’s a fantastic place. Close to the city, reasonably well-run, nice people (I stayed the heck out of any drama) and good horses. A small riding program is run there by through a small satellite program from another stable.

Before I leased Ardie...Mickey

Before I leased Ardie…Mickey

There is a BIG indoor arena (the only downside is that you can’t keep jumps up in it, so lots of putting up/taking down) and two riding rings and trails. We rode a ton outdoors, even in the winter wet sloppy weather because it was pretty decent! We even did some night trails, which were pretty cool. I saw an owl one time, near the swampy area by the small bridge.

Riding Mickey in the winter

Riding Mickey in the winter

They even hosted some horse shows! I rode in one- the ‘spring fling’ and took both Ardie and Starr. They were super cheap and super fun. I think I did like 10 classes total, I was totally exhausted by the end of the day, haha but did win a hack high point for that!

I really enjoyed my time riding at Burnaby, and wouldn’t hesitate to ride there again if I ended up back on the mainland (NOT planning to, by any stretch~).

Pony jumpers with Starr

Pony jumpers with Starr- I think we even placed in this class??

It was a far sight better than the first lease situation I ended up in, during my stay in Vancouver. A kind of pathetic Standardbred mare (she was nice, but clueless…Her owner, well-meaning but afraid of the horse and kind of ditzy) at a stable pretty far out that other horse owners dubbed ‘Creepy Hollow’ hahah…Concrete flooring for the indoor arena, so it wasn’t the best situation and I got really tired of the kind of clueless horse, even more clueless owner, and showing up to ride only to see someone’s kid riding the horse that *I* had paid to lease? Yeah, NO. Oh and no real photos of that one either, haha.

Ardie at the show

Ardie at the show

I dropped that lease like a hot potato, after I think 2 months.

And promptly moved on to better at Burnaby! At first I leased that cute pinto, Mickey- but his owner moved him, so I moved on to Ardie pretty quickly, I think within a month?

Whee! Pony jumpers with Starr

Whee! Pony jumpers with Starr