Race recap #2: MEC The Best Getter

Yep that’s right, what better than moving, racing on Saturday, and then racing on Sunday? NOTHING! That’s what!

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Photo courtesy of MEC Victoria–I love this shot!

I had originally signed up for the 15k, as I did it last year and 15ks are surprisingly hard to find these days, but because I was a lazy slob on holidays in Brazil and didn’t do any runs or knee workouts, my chronic knee injury (patella instability/subuluxation) flared up bigtime as soon as I started running again at home (yeah, I make great decisions).

So, I downgraded-ha- to the 5k. Let the games begin!!!

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I have no idea what I was doing here- a really funny high-five?

I also liked that the 5k started at 9am. I really didn’t want to get up too early, so sue me–I haven’t been sleeping well in my new townhome for some reason. Maybe because it feels so different and strange?

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More high-fives!!

We got there smoothly, it was no problem at all. We even had time to warm-up, which is something I pretty much never do, for some bad reason. I was a bit concerned with my knee issues and the fact that I had run up Mt. Doug the day before, but was also interested in giving it my all and seeing how I could challenge the 5k. And wow, I was challenged!!

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And they’re off!

I made sure to start near the top of the pack, and held a ridiculous pace for all of…1km (4:08, hahahah yeah no way). I was immediately out of breath, gasping. My next km plummeted to 4:32, which is what I typically run 10ks at, and it still felt really HARD. I bounced between 4:21-4:33 for a few kms, until the last km that I just.couldn’t.make.it.happen…and fell to 5:00. Wooow…not good. I got passed by two runners in the last km and I couldn’t make the time up at all.

I was gasping for breath, coughing up stuff and just, gross. I know 5ks are among my weakest distances, but I was still a bit bummed about how tough it felt for me.

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Leading the pack for a short time.

And how was my time? Surprisingly pretty good–22:15, and my previous 5k time was 22:17. So technically, a new personal best in the 5k–something I can’t complain about given how I had abused my legs running Mt. Doug the day before, and was generally exhausted from moving that week. I’ll take it, 5k…I’ll take it.

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Faces of pain…

I still kind of hate that distance though. I was feeling jealous of the 15k runners.

Kudos to the MEC Victoria team for putting on another well-run, super affordable, safe and friendly race. I will always support them for the fabulous effort they put into these race series–consider me a fan!!

Race recap: The first annual Mt. Doug Ascent!

Aka the beer mile race uphill! Hahahah.

Of course, I noticed my last post was- how do you follow up the trip of a lifetime? By moving houses, of course. Now, how do you follow up a moving week? By racing Saturday and Sunday, of course! (I fully realize this is insane, and kind of a bad idea, but hey…I had already signed up so no wussing out!).

Without further ado, race recap 1. Mt. Doug Ascent.

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Grueling grind.

This was a very small race, just a lot of us regulars from the track series that runs over the summer run by the Christie- Phoenix Victoria Run Series, and they offer some fun extras too in the fall- the new ascent, and two x-c runs at Elk/Beaver Lake. This race was sponsored by a new brewery, Caledonian Brewery, and had a bunch of awesome growlers to give away as draw prizes!

I had practiced running up Mt. Doug the weekend prior, doing it twice- again not something I really recommend, and it is extremely challenging and doing it twice made me legs hurt all week! ha! But, I’m also glad I tried it out so I had a very good idea of what to expect–and no joke, it was rough.

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Phew!!

We started at 11am right from the bottom and people zipped up so fast! I didn’t get tempted to start too quickly- I knew too much from my experience last week…So I held my pace (slow) and chugged up the mountain road. I passed a few people, and we huffed and puffed our way up. I was neck and neck with some other girls once we got to the top, and then I kind of faded in the steeper climb to the rocks. They passed me, and I finished around fifth I think?

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A great view

My official time was marked at 11:00, but I think that was incorrect as my Garmin read closer to 10:40? I ran into a fellow runner, Gary Duncan, at the MEC race the next day and he was saying he thought the times all got bumped down, so I had to look at the time above mine for a more accurate reading- which was 10:35, seems about right to me!

Rounded off the great challenge with draw prizes and after losing out all season, I WON one! YEAH!!!! A growler and a bag of special rice from Level Ground Trading. YES!!

I’d say do this run, and enjoy the toughness. Dig in, let the sweat run down your face, relish the pain, and the slowness of it. It’s worth it!

 

We learn nothing.

Got this book back from my in-laws and it made me laugh. Oh Tim Kreider, you are the best!

So do we learn?

Hard to say. I emailed my equine wellness counselor in a big hissy fit last week. Coming off a really bad 7 days, a record-breaking bout of falling off, and another trainwreck of a jump lesson, I was spiraling and it was BAD BAD BAD.

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Oats and his new obsession- Corona.

I took some time off from riding Oats (rode Fri and he was good! We worked on some dressage stuff, it was a very intense and thorough ride, but I felt like we got a lot of really solid work done), Sat-Sun I went  camping and Oats went on a trail ride with my friends without me, haha.

Monday I arranged the session. I was building already when we met, in a big huff, upset and convinced I was flying backwards with Oats. I could barely describe the problem without tears. It was rough.

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Best buddies.

She laughed and assured me that this is a stage, and like any stage, coming to me at a point in time when I can handle it. I just need to work through it. I described my bad jumping efforts and she said a year ago, Oats made all the decisions. Now, you’re making a lot more of the decisions- you no longer have to convince him. Except, when you make the decisions for him, you can’t abandon him when you are unsure. It’s like jumping out of the car on the highway, and you leave the car suddenly driving itself.

Interesting!

So, there is still a fear/panic element when I approach a jump and I feel ‘blank’ about where the takeoff is. I’m like, what do I do? My legs come off, my mind ‘goes somewhere’ and boom! Oats slams on the brakes.

He needs me to ‘be there’ the whole way, not just when I’m 100% confident about the takeoff spot.

You get this through focus, and let me tell you: that laser-like intensity is EXHAUSTING. We worked on free-longing Oats in the round pen, getting him to come in and go out just through my watching/observing and directing him with my body language and look. It worked, too! Oats responded really nicely.

This lack of focus and ‘me leaving my body’ was a big issue last year. I stopped showing because of it–I couldn’t make myself go in the ring without disassociating. So, obviously this is not a new issue for me, but it’s one that I can come back to and begin to manage appropriately.

So we worked on the round pen to build my focus  (mine more so than Oats’) and then worked on an emotional freedom technique that made me laugh out loud. It works apparently, so I will start doing it once a day this week.

I then rode Oats outdoors and he was freaking out about the back corner (we have a bad history there, and it got cleaned up so GASP it looked different~) but you know what? It’s fine, we can manage. And we did. I eventually got him going around, and then we cantered over poles and then I got brave and jumped a jump! Whoop! He was great, super forward and interested the whole ride- a little spooky/jittery, but very forward.

So, yeah. Ups and downs. I am trying to keep calm and progress.

 

MEC Big Wild Challenge 2015- Race Review~

First up, know that this is no ordinary race. It’s not even a race at all- no timing mats! Crazy eh?

It’s more of an ‘adventure’ run through the trails of East Sooke Park, starting at Aylard Farms. I signed up primarily because I was planning on running with a friend who unfortunately was injured the week before and was unable to run, but no matter! We were going to do it anyways in her honour 🙂

Me looking weird at the start...photo courtesy of MEC.

Me looking weird at the start…photo courtesy of MEC.

We did the 12k distance and it’s funny but I was contemplating the 21k distance (jesus, so glad I didn’t) initially and then didn’t sign up for it. THANK GOD. The 12k, for your reference, took me about 1:55:30? Yeah, so the 12k took me longer to ‘run’ than a half marathon. I know, I know!

This was because of the trail. Wild, wooly, wet and slippery. The trail is no joke. I put run in quotations because I didn’t even end up running much during the race, it was more scrambling and climbing over rocks, boulders and tree roots. Something I tend to suck spectacularly at. I slipped hard a couple times and fell about three times, one time on a bit of a cliffside and man, that freaked me out!

My arms hurt after the race, mostly because I was using them to pull myself up, or down, on the trail. Crazy eh?

I was covered in mud after, even had a pretty fancy dirt unibrow going on after much to the amusement of my friends. At the turn-around, they had these nice ‘Go’ bar samples, so I stuffed one in my pants, gulped some Gatorade, and turned around and kept hoofing it. I was sweating so much it was running into my eyes, and I think that’s where the dirt unibrow came from- me rubbing my eyes with my grubby paws.

I was afraid of hurting myself. That kept me from really enjoying myself. The trail seemed like a great place to fall and hit your head, or break an ankle…

Looking relatively fresh at the finish...Photo courtesy of MEC.

Looking relatively fresh at the finish…Photo courtesy of MEC.

So it was quite a hairy experience, I’m glad I did it, but unlike my friends–I’m not sure I would do it again! I’ve now done two trail races and quite frankly I am a bit too competitive to let it go on the trail–I want to race! Also I’m pretty terrible at trail running- just not agile or balanced enough I suppose and that affects my confidence.

I was so thirsty after too, which surprised me–it was not a warm day, it was chilly and drizzly but I suppose my exertion was very great.

The food after was excellent! Small wrap bites, smoked cheese, pasta salad (yum!), juice, coffee, really soft cookies, two-bite brownies, bananas. I can’t complain about the food, it was super tasty! Too bad my hands were filthy, haha.

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I had some scratches on my wrists, and legs and mud splattered all the way up my legs. It was time to go home, shower, and then zip off to catch Brave Shores at Rifflandia!

“I wish I could recommend the experience of not being killed to everyone” Gut Buster Mt. Washington Race Recap!

And another quote by the esteemed Tim Kreider.

Yes I'm wearing my barn jacket. My other one was soaked through!

Yes I’m wearing my barn jacket. My other one was soaked through!

But on to the race!

The Gut Buster Mt. Washington…dun dun dun!

Yes, this one was not recommended by my husband, and I deliberately avoided talking about it at work or to anyone because I knew they would tell me I was making a bad decision. I have a bad kneecap and it gives me trouble and running down a suicide hill would definitely count as making a terrible decision.

So, I just didn’t mention it, and I ran it on Saturday.

And was it a bad decision? Nope! Would I do it again? Very debatable…

It was tough. It was rough. Am I glad I did it? Hells yeah!

The first inkling of trouble was when we got to the ski hill and it was absolutely freezing, pissing down rain and blasting wind. I started shivering immediately and my teeth were chattering. I signed up for this? WTF? I felt sorry for the poor volunteers at the registration tables, those folks looked absolutely frozen. It was, according to the Mt. Washington sign, 11 deg at the base of the mountain. BRrrrrrr.

Keeping in mind it is August, and everywhere else it was 20 deg and if not sunny, then only mildly rainy. Jesus.

The race director- who is a total moviestar- spent a lot of time warning us about the hazards on course…slippery rocks, lots of rocks, rain, wind, steep conditions, ”scrambling” sections, oh and the course that was going to be 6km is now 8.5km- yayyyy…????? In my mind I was like oh god, there goes my pride and all of my bones right now. What kind of stupid impulse made me sign up for this freezing torture?

Anyways, before I could back out, we were out and running up the hills. For awhile I was feeling ok- I was passing people, feeling good, kind of smug really about passing even though I started at the bottom of the pack. Then we all kind of had to backtrack because everyone got lost immediately and missed the first of the flags. Whoops!

So, on we went until we reached 3km of the supposedly 5km uphill- that’s when the bad boys really started, and everyone was walking/trudging grimly uphill. This is when it started feeling less like a race, and more of a trudge, ha.

We got to a peak (note- I said ‘a peak’ not ‘the peak’ or ‘the summit’) and I was thinking oh yeah great, this is going well! Until we kept going and I noticed we weren’t going downhill. We were going up again…to the next peak.

Uh oh…

I gamely jogged across a really bizarre foot path of sorts made of huge boulders -slippery- and then trudged up some truly difficult scrambling sections. I was using momentum to heave myself up the scramble, wedging my foot in a rock, grabbing for a chunk of root or juniper bush to crawl up higher. At one point my foot slipped and I almost fell butt-first into the face of the guy following closely behind me. Phew, close one!

Then I felt good, ok that MUST be it!

We were even going a bit downhill…And then..back uphill?

Yeah, the run wasn’t done with me yet. At the brief downhill section, I got passed by everyone. I suck at going downhill, and rock at going uphill. And now we were really and truly heading to the summit. Cold wind and rain blasted us tirelessly, and we were socked in fog. It was a eerie experience, and I was all alone. It felt like I was the last person left on earth, running through a frozen apocalypse!

I kept going, and kept my head to the ground. I couldn’t see well because the rain was fogging my eyes, and the wind was making me tear up. That was when I missed the pink flags and cruised for awhile on a road. I enjoyed the cruise downhill until I noticed a suspicious lack of flags. Curses! I saw a guy quite a way away to my right running through a meadow and I shouted to him if he saw the flags- he yelled back yes!

I had to backtrack to the meadow, and I picked up the flags again. And I got passed by a few more people…Darn those downhill sections, I have to be the only person that can’t deal with it!

I jogged, walked and slipped my way down the mountain. Lots of small slippery rocks made it tricky, there were a few little boards over running water, and some logs just waiting to grab your ankles. Still, I was keeping at it.

And then, I cruised the final small gentle rise and headed down to the finish line. It was in sight! I have to say, this was the first race I’ve had enough energy to wave at Ian when I ran through the gates, haha. Cold, soaked and happy, I was glad to be done my first and only trail run up a mountain.

We both finished with respectable times, Ian finished 7th and I finished 4th in our ages groups. Ian even won the last door prize- a really sweet Nike running shirt!