Being appreciative

Rode Oats a lot this past week/weekend (Thur/Fri/Sat/Sun/Tues) and while I can’t even really remember how my rides went, with the exception of a fun jump lesson and some small jumps/polework on Saturday, I remember one thing:

I love riding him! I feel very appreciative to have him in my life, eating $$ and all.

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Photo courtesy of Nicole G. I love it so much! Big D and his mini-me.

I saw a photo my trainer took of Oats and his buddy Donato (Big D) being reuinted in the field and it made my heart sing with joy. He was so happy! The photo was sooo cute! I don’t always have these feelings and to be honest mostly take old Oats for granted (it’s like I’m afraid to acknowledge how much of an influence he is in my life, just in case). But, I heard some tragic news this past week about one of my trainer’s horses passing suddenly with a twisted-gut colic, and wow…I would be heartbroken if that happened to Oats.

So, my rides were unremarkable but you know, unremarkable is a good thing these days. I didn’t have my lesson yesterday b/c I skip every other week now for $$$-saving purposes (HA yeah right), and I will have it next week. But, we had a very solid ride focused on circles and straightness down the quarter-line. Easier said than done!

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I am learning how to take screenshots! Still in the indoor though. Proof that we jump oxers, haha.

Also, with more daylight and warmer temps, I’m wanting to actually BE at the barn more now, and my barn friends have moved back so it’s a win-win for all of us here.

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More screenshots- jumping the weird jump!

 

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.

Halloween in many parts: Part 2- MEC’s Grand Banana Half Marathon!

I know, I know, running (almost wrote ‘funning’ yeah it was anything but funny!) a half marathon the day after a Halloween party? Not my brightest move!

Warming up: all photos courtesy of MEC.

Warming up: all photos courtesy of MEC.

However, it is a move I am very familiar with, living a pretty normal and active life, so hey you roll with the punches and just see how the race goes! My goal was not lofty–I was hoping to complete the race with my knee intact, a large goal seeing that I haven’t run successfully around Elk Lake at all since my knee troubles started, and I was really worried.

And they're off! All photos courtesy of MEC.

And they’re off! All photos courtesy of MEC.

But I was also hopeful, my base for running has been improving, so maybe I could get by? I am the first to admit my training has been quite shameful lately- I wasn’t feeling well (see my slow-motion cold, ugh!), had a horse show one weekend, and was at Mane Event and managed to wrangle 1 really boring one-hour run, and my regular sprint work on the treadmill twice a week. So, respecting the distance of a half marathon at 21.1 km, I was not feeling super prepared…

Add on to my fun festivities the night before and I was thinking, finish the race, maybe shoot for under 2 hours and see how it goes?

Beginning: So far, no rain. All photos courtesy of MEC.

Beginning: So far, no rain. All photos courtesy of MEC.

And how did it go?

Surprisingly well! I was very lucky to have my husband join me, and it was great to have company for that long of a race. It can be very hard to stay focused for that long, and he really brings me up when he helps me race!

That’s not to say it was easy. It wasn’t. It was kind of like torture, but the type of torture that keeps you coming back for more…The course had these silly little dog-legs (uphill!!!ARGH) to add more length on to the track, so the course was a hair over standard- 21.2 km instead of 21.1 km, but we are splitting hairs here…But yes, a few more upills, muddy, slippery conditions, dogs, so many dogs…I ended up dodging dogs more than I would have liked! And the best part? It was absolutely FREEZING. It didn’t start really raining hard until the second loop but man, that was enough.

Starting to get wet...All photos courtesy of MEC.

Starting to get wet…All photos courtesy of MEC.

But actually, I was feeling pretty good. Anytime I got too ‘slappy’ with my form and got worried about my knee, I focused very hard on the inner muscle of my knee and tried to really think hard about landing using that muscle, pushing off using that muscle, and trying to make it ‘work’ harder than my outside knee muscle.

Second loops: Things get ugly. All photos courtesy of MEC.

Second loops: Things get ugly. All photos courtesy of MEC.

And I think that type of body-awareness work really helped my form throughout the race.

I was happily able to keep running, my knee held together, even though I was tired, had picked up an unfortunate stomach bug that would keep me near the bathrooms for the rest of the day (gross!!!!) and was feeling quite underpowered and under fueled, but I was DOING IT!

A race to the finish! All photos courtesy of MEC.

A race to the finish! Ian is drenched! All photos courtesy of MEC.

So, pushing through the freezing wind and pouring rain, we ran to a fairly respectable 1:54:17, a 31-second time improvement off our last half marathon. I’d be lying if I didn’t want a faster time, but to be honest with myself, I didn’t put the work in and conditions for me personally weren’t optimal. Next time!

My 'thank god the finish!' face All photos courtesy of MEC.

My ‘thank god the finish!’ face All photos courtesy of MEC.

Many thanks to the fine MEC crew, who braved the absolutely terrible weather and had some really nice snacks, well-placed aid stations (I grabbed a Cliff shot blok and it was orange flavoured- yuck! But I desperately needed energy haha my mistake) and a great cheering section to keep us inspired.

And thank you to my friend, who was unable to run but was with us in spirit. Next time, when you’re recovered from your injury, we’ll do the race right!

When you’re going through hell, keep going?

So, I debated for awhile about blogging about yesterday because I still feel rather emotional. And it’s weird, I have been feeling strangely blah, out of it, super emotional and in a real mood, funk, and whatever for WEEKS now. Maybe even months?

I just can’t seem to shake it! This feeling like the other shoe is about to drop.

And yesterday it sort of did. With Oats, of all things. Of course.

I had a lesson with Karen Brain and I mentioned he was bucking with me on Sunday, and I managed to stick it, but that his attitude felt like…MAKE ME! Or maybe…EFF OFF!

He bucked again when I was warming up for the canter before my lesson, before Karen got there, and I felt edgy and concerned. We do not have a great history with his antics, and it makes me anxious, grabby and fearful. Are we constantly doomed to move backwards?

We started the lesson and it was going pretty well, he still felt a bit ‘tense’ but dressage work is not his forte and we’ve been working hard through some evasions. So far so good, until we worked on the right-lead canter…(this is the side he’s been bucking me on lately).

And BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! I got flung right off, he wouldn’t stop bucking, and I couldn’t hang on. I’m not THAT great at sticking a buck. I can usually get him stopped before it gets to that point, but there was no saving it yesterday.

I landed fine (turns out constantly falling off is making me better at protecting myself) and instantly burst into tears and said I didn’t want to get back on.

That was ok, Karen got him organized and then TOOK HIM TO TASK.  Like, back up? Oh, he says no? Ok GO GO GO GO. Go forward and he says no? Ok, BACK UP MORE!

Sideways no-go? MOVE YOUR FEET!

Forwards? a rear? MOVE!

He was being very dramatic! He reared, high-ho Silver! style.

He went two rounds with Karen, who was not interested in taking his shit. He looked submissive after the first round, but then was geared up to protest mightily for the second. I spent most of the time watching and feeling upset. WTF?

She said he’s being dominant, and that it’s a matter of working through it on the ground first, before I am ‘at his mercy’ in the saddle and he bucks me off. That’s his way of working through stuff he doesn’t want to do.

So, I have to get side-reins and longe him, in a productive fashion, until I feel comfortable getting back on. And if I sense anything from him, get off and longe again. Repeat as necessary, until he gets that ‘soft’ look and his head comes down, but not if he barges into my space.

And of course, this comes during a time when I’m feeling more blah than ever. Less motivated than ever, less interested in working through this than ever. Like where does that leave me? Crying my eyes out at night, and having nightmares about being involved in a car accident. That’s where. And as an added bonus, I look like absolute shit today, so bad that my co-workers noticed and asked if I was sleeping ok. (they are the nicest! and no, I had a terrible sleep. Terrible!!!!!)

WHY why why why why why

I officially hate my pony. There, that is it.