When your life resumes (sort of)

At least my riding lessons are back on! Yes!

IMG_1362

I ran my shoulder into a telephone pole a few weeks ago. Totally an accident but ouch! 

But with the resuming of some ‘normal’ activities comes roaring back all of my previous concerns/issues. Footing in the indoor.  Horses not being turned out enough. The outdoor is kaput, at least for this season? UGH.

I told my husband that I want to just buy a farm and deal with all this myself, dammit!

IMG_1363

Ian made bagels and they were great! 

Otherwise…Address what I can, and then see what I can manage or not manage. Oats has been great otherwise, we had a return to lessons last week (jumping and dressage!) and I was really able to address our warm-up issues in a way that felt both calming, and productive. Go us! Phew!

I felt rusty as all hell but otherwise? Pretty darned good. Oats is moving great, I’m very pleased with that. I missed my trainers like crazy too. All the drama, angst, moving, rude and horrible boarders and COVID 19 and just…Man. My trip to Argentina  (haaaaaaaaa) not a thing anymore, summer holidays..?? Just. ARGH.

IMG_1368

Oats has enjoyed lots of hand grazing, now that I work from home during this time and I have no commute! 

It still feels like some of my life is on hold, and will remain so.

Ian and I are able to get a lot of cool runs done throughout areas locally, and in the Cowichan Valley and I feel extremely grateful that we are able to do so with ease. Same with riding- at least I can do it? Despite all the ‘should I stay or go’ angst that continues to plague us?

I miss horse shows, friends, races, travel…Happy hours are coming back, and so are hair cuts, but the other stuff? Nope.

Ian and I are forced to be creative with our time, so we do a lot of running, food projects, and some creative projects too- like water colours.

This is a long and strange time, and I didn’t want to blog about it because all I felt was gloom and doom. I don’t really feel that anymore, but I do feel like I’m in this strange limbo where everyone is acting like normal, but behind the act is a lot of anxiety and uncertainty.

But since it’s going to be awhile, I might as well come back for now.

She just likes to fight

So…so.

57104251_423393028444609_4028344363443552256_n

This isn’t happening this year. Man! What a downer. Photo from last year. 

Things are getting shut down, my work is ramping up to a 7-day-a week schedule as well as working 8-7pm each day (except I guess, on weekends??)…And yours truly is reaching a grouch factor that is in the stratosphere.

I guess grouchy, or just wanting to cry. I oscillate between both.

All the races are cancelled, many of my colleagues trips are also gone- to be rescheduled. At least they can reschedule that, phew!! I am wondering what will happen to mine in April.

Things are so far out of my control, I’m not sure what I can control at this point (my emotions?>???). My injuries are flaring up, my work is out of control, my happy future plans are now cancelled or really in question. That seems like minor, petty bullshit, but still- it’s hard.

Oats was sound last night though! Chalk one up to the good guys? 😉 I have a paltry piece of good news and I am going to cling to it with extreme desperation. Ha.

Also I had a doughnut today and it was great. So, the stress eating is going awesome!!

Fake it ’til you take it: Port Alberni 15K Paper Chase Race Recap!

In the midst of this madness…We actually had a fun Sunday! We hoofed it up (of course on Daylight Savings minus 1 hour of desperately needed sleep) to race in Port Alberni. This is the fourth race in the VIRA race series, and it is relatively new- only a few years in existence. You should have seen the sweet-ass medals we had at the first one, niiice!

88363646_1789809177823287_7168740934639681536_o

Trotting through the Mill site. Photo courtesy of the Port Alberni Chamber of Commerce.

It is a challenging course, and each year I remember getting a 15k ass-kicking. Was this year any different? Ha, not really! I felt horrible all week (thanks, severe asthma and allergies), and was just generally feeling miserable. I did not have high expectations for this race. It was really chilly when we got up at the crack of dawn to drive out there, and the beginning of the race was super cold too, but it cleared up and was pretty darn nice after!

The race is a smaller one- the drive is pretty long for folks- but it has a very generous start line, not congested at all. The vibe was pretty cheerful! 😉 Love the run community.

89307878_10156756737566456_3564102100038189056_o

Trying to get more air by like, craning my neck?? UGH! Photo courtesy of Lyndon Cassels.

It also starts going up hill, and boy…By KM 3 I was like, is this some sort of sick joke? Jesus. I was gasping, coughing up tons of phlegm and just…Kind of struggling. Like I have been every day, ha. It’s a race that has quite a few rolling hills, and then the turnaround is good, and then into the McLean Mill! You run for just over 1 KM I believe, and it’s through the woods, mud puddles (wasn’t too slippy though), and then back to the road.

89448136_10156711697301087_3030018647583096832_o

I call this one- faces of pain. Photo is courtesy of Lois D’Ell.

I struggle-ran the entire way out, and through the Mill, and then was like, hey you know what? I CAN turn it on! I am running this race, it isn’t running me! And I could pick it up. I was still gasping for breath, and in the photos you can see my neck straining mightily to breathe. That’s just my life right now, breathless, constantly. It sucks.

I felt ok though, and picked it up until the last oh, 2km? We then hit more hills that slowly dragged out my will to live… I needed some go-button help here. My husband helped me finish pretty strong though. I was happy with that! (we still got passed at the finish like we were standing still, ha.). My time was fine, good even for how shitty the week was/breathing/sickness- a 1:07:31.

I, of course, grouched that my time last year was over a minute better, but I checked again and I was wrong- my time last year was like 30 seconds better. So, fine  with all things considering. I need to be friendlier to myself and my efforts, sheesh. I finished second in my AG and 9th woman.

We had excellent chili for post-race refreshments, and everyone was in a good mood~ The sun was out, so we decided to also cruise to the Quay and check things out in good ol’ Port Alberni. We got doughnuts – they were GREAT! So fresh, great flavours and selections, and the price was right- $6 for 6, even. Steal, right??

IMG-0043

Maybe a silver, but I got excellent doughnuts, so who’s the real winner here??

We wrapped up the lovely day by going to a new brewery, and they had patio seating open. Sunshine, a few beers, a 15k race. What more could a girl ask for?

(ok, well a sound horse, no allergies, no injuries, a non-pandemic…but this isn’t reality).

 

Who you gonna run to? VIRA Hatley Castle 8k Race Recap!

Ok, going in to this race I felt equally hopeful and hopeless- I have kind of been alternately struggling AND doing well this race season. A true microcosm as it were. This is a challenging race, lots of hills, and I know I am not super conditioned on hills this season, since I was injured this summer.

87256993_10158142973195859_4124457085758865408_o

Photo courtesy of Joseph Camilleri.

The day dawned blustery and rainy, cleared up for our drive and them BOOM! Promptly poured rain and blasted wind the entire race. I felt bad for the volunteers- it was sooooooo shitty out, and they are standing out there! Yeeeeesh.

The start is very narrow but I didn’t lose a ton of time there, thankfully (like, 5 seconds). It was cold and rainy, and we jetted off and I felt ok, but not great. We went up the first hill at 2-3km, and it started feeling kind of brutal. My legs and everything just felt really tired, fatigued. This is when I lean into my breathing more, and my lungs and throat are NO help this season- I have been struggling with asthma and coughing up pleghm constantly.

87435965_10158143051520859_2072291277591805952_o

Photo courtesy of Joseph Camilleri.

So… I kind of just battled on. It was’t really great but the way this season is going, none except for Cobble Hill are, so it should not be a surprise to me.

I was happy to get to 4km, and then the out and back gravel section that kind of killed my vibe, ha. It’s just..eh. Not very fast, and I was coughing up phlegm and rattled breathing, all while having wind blasting with pelting rain my face. Lovely.

When we got to the trees/uphill trail section, I was relieved. It felt ok! Not fast, but nicer than the rain. It was quite muddy/slippery. You had to be careful. We made it to the hill (biiiiiig downhill) and I was pretty terrified of slipping and falling, but made it ok!

Then the long flat section had a few too many turns for my liking, and I kind of lame assed it to the finish. I don’t seem to have energy or lung power for a strong finish anymore, at all these days.

87987391_10156675149091087_8550529126052659200_o

I like this photo, because it shows me that even though I got passed, I ended up passing back! Photo is courtesy of Lois D’ell/Ceevacs Running.

Felt like I was going to puke at the finish, and was soaked and freezing. A good race, hahah. My friends were there too, and had some good runs with good times! My other friend is still injured sadly, which is another lesson to me- I recovered pretty quickly. It doesn’t always happen that way…A delicate balance, and one I have to keep in mind.

We had hotdogs and snacks at the finish, and my time was slower than last year (of course, all of mine are except for Cobble Hill), at 36:19, for 3rd in my AG and 11th woman finisher. Many thanks to the brave volunteers and race organizers, what a miserable day!!

Ride it out

So, I had a long weekend- Family Day in fact! THREE whole days off!

IMG_1303

One bright side- I made a cake! 

In true good wish/bad wish fashion, the weekend was…Challenging. Not all bad, but not good either. I learned on the weekend that a ton of people are vacating the current boarding stables that I am at (and I get it, no place is perfect), but it’s just a huge bummer for me to see them leave. I will miss them, their cool horses and their awesome jumps!

So, that was a downer. Plus the extreme negativity is just getting to be a huge buzzkill and it is making me not want to be at the barn right now either. UGH!! Can we just chalk this up to everyone else’s drama for once?

Plus I started a new medication for a potential endometriosis diagnosis (unconfirmed but pretty sure) called Visanne and wow…The side effects of it SUCK. Bigtime. Hardcore. I started it last week, and by day 3 had a full blown period complete with hemorrhaging. And I am chronically anemic. By the weekend, I spent a fair amount of time Saturday night at like 3am wracked with extreme nausea and vomiting. I was literally sweating out of my hair, my fingers. UGH. So awful. I was in pain (cramps, thanks to the surprise period that started immediately), and had such horrendous nausea. Man. I also suspect that I can’t eat fried food anymore, because it has made me puke every time lately!

I am still not feeling super great. Weirdly bloated and random cramping. Welcome to my life, isn’t it amazing? Between the side effects of the new medication, and all my friends leaving me, I basically had a crying meltdown on Sat. as well. Greeeatt…

Oats? Oats was so good this weekend. I feel very thankful that among great change, sadness and abandonment that I feel, he is still here, and solid as ever. Love my boy. Plus my husband helped me out a lot, made me not feel so alone this weekend too. We enjoyed running up Mt. Doug (man, my legs were like JELL-O after. Woof!) and shared a free hotdog from a gas station that hilariously I really enjoyed?!

Anyways, I’m kind of over it, and guessing from the long weekend that several of my colleagues had, they also are over it (flooding, food poisoning…I guess we all had the same delightful weekend?!).

At least the weather is nice. I am going to end on that.

VIRA Cedar 12k Race Recap!

To start off with, I don’t think my time or effort was bad during this race, it just felt… tough. And I fully accept responsibility for that, as I had kind of run a lot in the two weeks prior and didn’t exercise the discipline I needed for rest days (an ongoing struggle for me). I like running and working out! So…That’s what I did. And my legs were definitely a bit flat. Sometimes I can rally and really give it, or not. And this was more of a ‘not’…

84623794_10156636139781087_2946896440401592320_o

You can see the strain in my neck. Photo courtesy of Lois D’Ell. 

The course changed last year for the better! Gone are the two mega hills and the slow, demoralizing trudge through the elementary school field to the finish. Was this a fast race for me? Nope, not really. It was quite cold out, and this year I am really having to manage severe asthma, particularly during cold weather where it flares up badly. I can manage it, but it’s not really optimal.

85053352_10156636166756087_8555336809364586496_o

At the start. Photo courtesy of Lois D’Ell. 

At least I don’t feel like I am going to die!

I can actually see the strain it puts on my chest, neck and lungs in the photos, compared with my racing at Cobble Hill. I am straining as hard as I can through a tight chest, compared with smooth, flowing runs. Interesting! Just something to note.

Everyone started very fast for this race, I started ok-fast for me, but I knew I could NOT rally like the other runners. They started fast, and held it. I sure didn’t. I know my abilities right now and they aren’t there.

i-wGnQxnz-X2

Levitating! I like these pix a bit better, though I had QUITE the unibrow in them (shadows). Photo courtesy of Bastion Run Club. 

I held on for a bit, and kind of just didn’t bother looking at my watch. There is a GPS dead zone, so I knew it would be off anyways.

I kind of struggled with the rolling hills on the way out, and on the way back, perfected my patented ‘pick them off one by one’ move. Note I didn’t really step up my pace, it was just easier on the way back and I could hold it better.

i-xcBKpd2-X2

And across to the finish! Photo courtesy of Bastion Run Club. 

The finish was ok, and my time was ok. It was like, ‘eh’ alright, rather than my really jubilant and triumphant race at Cobble Hill. You truly can’t win them all! My time was ok, 53:19 though I felt it was a lot of effort again for an ‘ok’ time. That is just what I am dealing with this year. Last year my time was 52:49? and felt better too. Good for 4th in my AG and 10th woman finisher.

As always, the food was good- lots of chips! Yummy! The volunteers were excellent despite managing a lot of traffic on a busy, extremely busy main road and parking lots. Keeping us safe 🙂

 

Cobble Hill 10k Race Recap!

So this is exciting- we had a new start/finish line this year! Previously we had to jog about 700m to the start/finish, from the staging area. Not a big deal but also kind of a pain in the ass, haha.

82825197_10158052618030859_2766543067061157888_o

Heading to the finish! Photo courtesy of Joseph Camilleri.

Apparently this would also make the course flatter/faster?! Would it?? Time would tell for me 🙂

I was fresh off of feeling super irritated about my efforts at the Harriers 8k. It just…sucked. I did get proactive about it, and sought treatment for my asthma (now I am the proud owner of two inhalers- 1 rescue inhaler to use before/after racing, and 1 daily inhaler for maintenance), plus this race I made sure to take an extra half dose of my daily allergy medication just in case (wow, I sound super high maintenance these days…). So I was all set!

I also did not have great expectations. Lately my legs have felt super flat, dead, achy left knee, bad lungs/breathing…Yeah, you got the idea.

I was talking with my friend’s husband about the Harriers race and he too had a tough race- though he is VERY fast. So, it wasn’t just me riding the struggle-bus. That made me feel slightly better.

83674929_10158052747710859_1018264062150049792_o

A few of the winners- I am the shortest by a head, again. HAh!

The morning of the 10k dawned nice and warm, and what’s that? SUn? It was crazy warm for us! I was regretting wearing my long-sleeved run shirt. Now, I never regret dressing warmly, ha. It was just a gorgeous weekend! We warmed up, I took my inhaler, and we were off to the start! It was a very congested start- only half the road, so everyone was crammed to the left. I left 5 seconds on the table with that start, yikes.

We were off, and I was kind of struggling. It felt hard, definitely not easy, my legs felt tired immediately and heavy, and my breathing- despite my multiple efforts- wanted to seize. But you know what? I felt like, oh ok well this is how it is going to be then…A repeat of the 8k…And I just grimly kept running.

And it kept kind of sucking, up until about 5k. Something just CLICKED! In my body!

I felt solidified, I felt energized, I was doing it, by god!!  I gathered together my energy, and I started really running, and I mean it. I was actively racing! I honestly haven’t felt that kind of ‘try’ in my body for over a year. It was really exciting 🙂

84494528_10156595960421087_1182810727480557568_o

This photo is courtesy of Lois D’Ell. 

And I ran, and I ran. I was finally doing it!

I was running a race, rather than being run off my feet by it. I quite literally found my stride. It felt so good, I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I felt to be running a race that I felt like I could actually run, rather than struggling or suffering.

I wrapped up and my time was fine- I got the same time last year and was mad, but this year, I have been trying to manage so many other health issues that to be quite honest, it made me happy! Am I back?? Maybe too soon to tell, but I felt good about it.

Chip time was 43:32, gate time was 43:37, good for 5th in my AG and 14th woman. YEah!!  A lovely day with some AMAZING food- pretzels from True Grain!!

Prairie Inn Harriers 8k Race Recap: When the problem is you

Yeah it sounds like a grim title, and it isn’t really that terrible BUT I raced on Sunday (ha before the snow really started flying!) and I wasn’t pleased with my body, my results. The race itself was fine, the volunteers are excellent and I even had pizza and cupcakes after! YEah! But during the race, I had a hell of a time trying to breathe. It felt like someone was squeezing my lungs. My throat was on fire from straining to suck in air. I was red-lining the entire race, at a pace that shouldn’t be a problem or issue for me. It was also quite windy, and we faced a real headwind and cold blowing air for a bit of the race. Fun times!

81890630_10158010295075859_4474664668920545280_o

I got passed by everybody at the finish. Wow that was humbling! 

I was just totally fried. And after the race, my damaged lungs were like, filling with fluid or something? I coughed and coughed and coughed all afternoon/night, horrible racking sounds with a deep chest rattle. I honest to god sounded like a 90 year old person with COPD or something. It was extremely unsettling and really alarmed me. In a moment of desperation I dug out my old inhaler and used it, and was finally able to breathe normally before bed.

Now, this struggle with asthmatic breathing isn’t new to me- in 2016, almost all of my races were shitty and I had some really scary incidents where I thought I was going to pass out because I couldn’t breathe- at all. Finish lines, etc. When I was running the track series, I would cough ALL night.

82345229_10158010297540859_3543096291166781440_o

I’m a fairly experienced long-distance runner with lungs that are apparently ‘superhuman’ when they were tested two years ago, so really WTF is going on? I had my lung capacity tested, stress-tested (off the charts..), and heart checked with an echocardiogram. All perfect. I ended up getting an inhaler, and regular allergy meds (I have a terrible, year-round allergic cough), and also iron pills for my extremely low iron. That seemed to fix it?

Even now, my throat feels scorched from the efforts on Sunday- and it’s Wednesday. And I still have a sort of cough.

The race was very disappointing, primarily because it felt like my body betrayed me. I tried as hard as I could, and I felt like death, for a minute slower than last year. Ironically, I ran that race with a nasty chest cold, and when I finished I coughed so hard I pulled a muscle in my ribs. ??????

It’s annoying to try so hard and get nowhere. I feel like I am going back in time, to 2016. People tell me that I need to be kinder to myself, to my body. I feel like I can’t sometimes- I want to push, to punish, to try harder, force myself, challenge myself, make myself do it.

That’s not the answer, but it has been my answer- and it worked in the past. Races are really all relative though, so who knows?! Athletic performance is always a bit of a crapshoot, haha.

So my next steps? Get a new, not two-year-old expired inhaler. And then we will see!

Fast or feast

I would like a word with whoever controls the weather: It SUCKS! Okay, I’ve been saying at least it’s not cold, but damn…The endless rain/wind either separately or together is getting to be a real drain *(ha). The indoor arena is flooded, I feel like I need to build a freaking ark when I go outside. Yeesh…

IMG_1230.jpg

Oats is so over it. 

This weekend was kind of a bust when it came to running. Partly due to the weather (lousy), partly due to me being a dummy and kind of hurting my knee in an attempt to heal it (used horse technology, a BEMER wrap, setting on high on my knee. Felt good and then felt terrible..shit!). I felt hurty and uninspired. Stupid me, thinking I could heal myself. Note to self: Don’t put it on high the first time. Work up to it!

Oats was good though! Had a nice jump lesson on Thursday, took Friday off, and rode Sat/Sun, flat on Sat, and some x-pole trot jump schooling on Sunday. He was really good, despite the absolute tornado that was going on… He did have 1 spook at a deer that went scrambling up the embankment, and he knocked me straight off the mounting block. Thanks, pony! Jeesh.

Oh well at least he was a lovely boy to ride. I also helped divert some of the rain that is flooding the arena by shoveling gravel against a board. And hung around to watch a horse at the barn get worked by an excellent local trainer- very educational and good to watch!

Otherwise we met up with a buddy for a beer at Phillips and then checked out the light display at Centennial square. It was lovely! We caught it just in time too, it closed officially on Sunday.

Today it is pouring rain, for what feels like the millionth day in a row. Boo! Bareback easy ride for me.

Merry Holidays~

IMG_1212

Our gingerbread train! Sweet eh?

From me, while I am back at work! Boo! But don’t feel too bad for me, I certainly enjoyed a big chunk of time off. I got to sleep in!! (yes!), go running! (and hurt my knee again!), lots of riding lessons- good and bad, and eat a ton of good food, drink some great wine, cider and tequila, and spend time with family.

80094139_10101199430065556_6093765505837957120_n.jpg

Merry Christmas from the critters! 

I am a bit sad that Xmas – and let’s face it, my time off- is over, but I did make the most of my time off and got in a lot of fun activities, so I can’t get too bummed now, can I? I think Oats prefers when I am at work, because then he gets days off too! Hahah.

IMG-0108.JPG

Gidget looking polite, even though she had a meltdown too. 

My jump lessons were both ok and not great- like, not terrible, he was still a good boy, but I felt a little jumbled and all over the place. My first lesson in my time off was NOT great- it was a dramatic windstorm complete with pouring rain. Honestly it felt like a tornado! Oats lost his ever-loving mind. He was bolting, trembling and freaking the eff out. Strange for him…. The vibes were clearly not to his favour. I 100% was sure I didn’t want to have a lesson, get on my horse who is having a panic attack and jump, but by the end of my lesson guess what I was doing? Jumping a small course of smaller fences! Hah! Never say never I guess? We still couldn’t get near the side of the arena that he was afraid of though…

IMG-0032 (1).JPG

My sister in law got this for me- isn’t it adorable?

And for my dressage lesson the next day, he was perfect! Go figure eh?

Christmas was good, lots of family time (which is good and bad…), and we did some family activities, and made a gingerbread train too! Both Gidget and my husband had meltdowns though, ahhh. I managed to really rack up my knee running, how I did it is anyone’s guess but I had this really sharp and intense pain under my knee cap. I managed to limp home, and now over a week later I have trouble going down the stairs. FML. AGAIN!

IMG-0034 (1).JPG

My friend from Ottawa sent this to me- it’s a chocolate postcard! So cool eh??

I had another jump lesson on Boxing Day, and it was ok- but I couldn’t like, get my knee to stop pinching….And our straightness was an issue too, unfortunately. I had a dressage lesson the next day and it was definitely not quite as lovely as our lesson the week previous. Why is it that when I have a FABULOUS lesson, the one immediately after it, the one were I am actually expecting to be great, sucks?? Riddle me this!

IMG-0106.JPG

We played a game with balloons- these were the balloons I bought. Funny eh?

Oh well! I did my trot fence practice yesterday too, and while the arena was bizarrely busy (5 horses on a Sunday? WTF??) It went really well! Good Oaty! Bareback ride tonight, he gets tomorrow off because I have NYE plans, and then lesson on Thursday again like normal. I guess returning to the routine has it’s benefits.

80235935_10101198162405956_5951584646478168064_o.jpg

My secret Santa NAILED IT! This weighed about 10lbs, and was so good I almost died eating it! 

80605442_10101201480451566_5465368690436341760_n.jpg

Some of the amazing gifts I received this year!