Love my animals…and my in-laws animals too! 🙂 They brighten our days and hearts.
Ah yes, I managed to escape the dreary rain/cold/wind of Christmas in Vancouver Island and went to the incredibly hot, beautiful climate of Huatulco Mexico, in the Oxaca province. It was HOT!!! And so so so sunny all day, every day. The sky was this limitless blue, sky blue that went on forever, each day.
We stayed at the Dreams resort, on Tagoluna Bay. There were a few other smaller resorts in that bay, and the area is known for its 7 famous bays, all good for swimming, snorkeling and goofing off.
It was about 30-35 degrees everyday, which meant we didn’t do a ton of walking around/exploring (sooo hot) but we did a lot of swimming, snorkeling and laying under the palapa. The resort was really nice, had 5 different swimming pools, two were adults-only which is awesome and made them much quieter.
The service at the resort was fantastic, the employees were all lovely and nice and super responsive. The food was really good too, I enjoyed sushi TWICE! And steak, ceviche, seafood salad, pasta, guacamole, crickets (yes I ate those too) and really good cotija cheese. Yum!! They also had decent sparkling wine and Baileys too, and made some good margaritas, haha.
So, I ate, drank, swam, snorkeled, paddle-boarded and kayaked for a week. We also went into town twice, to Las Cruceitas. It was smoking hot, holy god. We didn’t last that long in town that’s for sure, it was stifling and about 40 deg. We did buy and drink two coconuts though! Yum.
For an all-inclusive, this was a fabulous option and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to folks, particularly if you’re doing what we did and meeting up with family at the resort. It’s pretty hassel-free, easy way to hang out with family and not want to kill each other by the end of the trip! (wink wink).
Back to reality, sadly. And basically monsoon season right now too. The bright spot is that I missed Oats like CRAZY!! I couldn’t wait to get back riding. Oh and my husband, dog and bun bun too 😉
Monday I had an equine counseling session, in which we reviewed my dressage tests to discuss how they went, and things to improve on (more emotionally than physically). There were lots of points to get better on, but what Vicki said was the biggest win for me was when I felt Oats getting tense in the ring in the canter – historically our biggest challenge- I ‘let go’ of his face and gave more with my hands, so he didn’t get bottled up and angry. It led to a really good feeling and a strong test.
Even in the warm-up, I ‘gave’ more when I felt him wanting to get bottled up and start swapping his leads (he does this at horse shows, not so much at home). And guess what, when I ‘gave’ he didn’t want to swap anymore! A metaphor for life perhaps? By letting go you get more back, rather than grabbing and trying to control the horse (life). Interesting!
On to what I had to practice though- transitions. So many transitions. Our weakest points are too abrupt and head too high/loss of contact.
So how to fix? UGH, by doing a lot of transitions, of course. My favourite. (not).
On Tuesday I came out ready for action. I was going to do 100 transitions, and I found that this would take most of my ride actually. Up, down, big trot, little trot. Halt-trot, halt-walk. Walk- canter, big canter, little canter (this never actually happened, as our more focused canter work needed to not be during a shitshow lesson that was happening at the same time…).
It was tough! I was sweating, Oats was working hard.
It was a good effort though and a really interesting way to structure the work I found. Rather than riding around aimlessly, we had a purpose. Something I do struggle with, particularly when I am working around other riders in a small indoor during their lessons, when I am trying to stay out of their way and they are all over the place!
Go Oats Go!
I found a whole bunch more photos, courtesy of some runners at Cedar 12k. Annd…thought I’d do a wrap up of the photos, as a sort of reminisce from my crazy-insane season of 6 races in six weeks, culminating in 10 races for the season total. The distances ranged from 5k to a half marathon, trail to road, and BOY was it a challenge this year.
Right now, I’m on a race hiatus which feels pretty nice actually. (sort of a lie right now because I did inadvertently sign up for a trail 29k on the Sunshine Coast and then forgot I signed up for it, and found out we got in on Sunday…and it’s this weekend so I had to cancel.
The reality is Mexico+booze+holidays+sun+home renos+back to work+decompressing from the insane stress of months and months= no go for me. Sorry Marathon Shuffle, I will try next year! I bet it’s fun!
Our stairs and bedroom look great though, so the home reno thing is going nicely.
Had to miss my Tuesday dressage lesson to pick up family from the ferries, so rescheduled that for next week but I still have my jump lesson tonight to look forward to!
Oats on the other hand, has been enjoying his vacay from me a bit too much and came back into work on Sunday a tad grudgingly. Ha.
Because my rides have been fun but very boring, instead I am going to share photos that I purchased from the professional photographers at the Derby!
I was so happy to see photogs there, that I was definitely going to support them. Win-win!
Lately my rides with Oats- jump in the field, flat in the other field, do hill work, do transitions, have fun! I’m enjoying my week with him, no lessons this week as i am preparing to go on vacation. Oats will get a small vacay as well. 🙂 After how busy I have been and he has been, I am SO looking forward to getting some time away. I need it so badly!
Yes, three races in three weeks! My legs are feeling TRASHED today, ha, and I had a coughing attack walking to work. Such is the price to pay for glory??
So, last week was the MEC 10k, and the weather was god-awful. This weekend was much sunnier, and it was the VIRA Cobble Hill 10k. This is a race I vaguely recalled running last year, where I set my first 10k-related goal (the vaunted, hard-to-achieve time of 49:29 as Facebook reminded me today!). Wow, how things have changed eh?
This time, my time goal for the 10k is sub- 45:00, which I know is going to be extremely challenging to get. And that wasn’t necessarily my goal for Cobble Hill–I kind of wanted to see what I was capable of, coming off a 10k last week? Sound reasonable?
I mean, if i got sub-45, I was going to be very happy, but I also realized that realistically in running, ‘wishing and hoping’ isn’t very well going to make it happen!
Newsflash: I didn’t get sub-45. But I got a time I was very good with!
The race itself felt like a slice of special Hell. I set a very good pace at the first km (4:19?!) and the immediately realized I could NOT sustain it, as I set it running down a slight incline…Whoops. My allergies were going insane and I could hear my breathing through my EARS every BREATH was like this weird echo of a loud person breathing in my ears. It was making me feel really crazy.
I started gaining time…from that fast pace to 4:29, 4:37,4:39, and then it got really ugly and I was gasping and starting to feel sorry for myself…4:44! I had thoughts like: I see Ian and his dad, I wonder if I could just pull out now, and end this?? Would anyone notice? How does it feel to quit mid-race? How did this feel easier last week?
Let’s just say 4km and I are not friends.
The race was also super super busy. It was packed! I wasn’t passing anybody. They were all passing me haha. I went around the turnaround and started mentally slapping myself. Only 5k left! Sharpen up! Focus! Pick yourself up! No feeling sorry for yourself!
The mental slapping must have worked, because I started to regain more control of my breathing (it still sucked, but sucked a bit less), and worked my pace down to 4:26. I then flip-flopped between 4:26-4:3-? until the last KM, and I ran my 9th km at 4:23, which I was VERY pleased with.
I was not so pleased with how terrible I felt during, and after, the race. Jesus.
I staggered through the finish and sat down on the crumbling steps of the school. I couldn’t catch my breath well enough, and I felt dizzy. I walked back to the school/staging area with some nice runners and my calf seized up–I was dehydrated.
So, I was very happy with my time (a not-shabby 45:23) I was not super glad about how it actually ran- it was ugly, it felt horrible, and man, it was just…extremely rough.
But as always, there is another race, another day, and my effort was good. Thanks to the Ceevacs running club, the volunteers, race director, photographers, course marshals, food staff (!!yummy chili!) and photographers (my husband included) for making the day a real one to remember. 🙂
I didn’t go riding yesterday (wanted to give my poor knees a fighting chance this week) so I took the night off and did my nails most spectacularly.
Mr. Oats, as it looks like, had some fun with bubbles!
Hilariously, my dog is terrified of bubbles, but they are no problem with Mr. Oats. He’s one cool customer. As a friend put it, it looks like Oats thinks he is camouflaged, as the bubbles match his rain coat. Haha.
And another Oats update!
When I last blogged about Oats, I was having the WORST DAY EVER and he was being a gigantic jerk in my dressage lesson. Apparently lateral work is ‘asking too much’ of him, and then asking for the canter, in a circle, with a big thundering mare also? *brain fried*
He did try to dump me really well a few times, gahhh.
Wednesday he was ok, I didn’t really do too much.
Thursday was my jumping lesson, and he was good! I felt him trying to suck back in the corners and get ‘light’ in my contact, but I kind of just ignored it, felt ‘ok’ with the amount of trot I was getting (hint- it was a lot of trot, almost too much) and we worked over a small gymnastic and then on to coursework.
The coursework was interesting (as is most of my gymnastic attempts)…Straightness reared it’s ugly head, I asked him to take a long spot to a ‘slightly bigger’ jump that I was suddenly afraid of, etc etc…But it was ok, you know?
Sure we had the super ugly slide into the gymnastic, barely making it over (he apparently CAN make it over those jumps from a walk…) and a few head-cranked-to-the-left jumps instead of straight, ooops! I was better about the straightness last week.
My suspicious mind thinks I was feeling anxious about the ‘1 slightly bigger jump’ and it set me off my game, hence the busy cranking and flapping with my elbows.
Anxiety is a tricky thing. Anyways Oats was game and willing, a good pony! Hah.
My friend Sarah took some photos from the horse show in Nov. so all photos featured here today are courtesy of her!