Bazan Bay and series finale with the Vancouver Island Race Series

Last weekend we had the final race of the series, the 5k and the series wrap up! šŸ™‚

Heading back. Photo courtesy of Lois D’Ell.

I was kind of dreading the 5k- I just find it so tough, and I feel like I am pretty weak at getting any top end speed but I figured I could probably hang well enough for a sub- 20:00 with the fitness I have right now.

And it was FREEZING out. We have had a really miserable spring- super cold, wind storms every other day, it was a blizzard last Monday?! The race morning it was 0 deg, and by the time we were racing, I think it crawled up to a measly 4 deg? Anyways I was frozen, wearing gloves for the last race of the season and cursing our luck. I guess we should have considered ourselves lucky that it wasn’t snowing (it was on the Malahat and up Island all day…) and the brave runners who traveled here definitely had to contend with a really tough go to get to the race.

Photo courtesy of Lois D’Ell.

Weather gripes aside, the race itself was fine. I did get annoyed when I saw some older, non-elite runners head to the start. Guys, that’s a good way to get really hurt. Of course, when we started everyone blew past them and they got elbowed a lot. That’s life when you try to hang w/the pros… Do better!

I was hung up in a few packs throughout the race but nothing too tight, which was nice. I forgot my watch so didn’t have that pressure šŸ˜‰ at least!

At the start. My lungs didn’t love the extra-cold weather. Photo by Lois D’Ell.

It was tough, Ian blew past me like I was standing still which is always irritating! Lol! Wish I had speed if I didn’t train- how??? That will always confound me. My breathing was fairly labored and I did feel like I was at my max for speed. We hit the turnaround and zoomed back. As always, the finish loomed just out of reach for muuuchhh longer than I ever want…

About 1.5 kms to the finish, a guy was telling us we’re getting under 20:00 and I was like yes my dude, I know that, but I’m not gearing JUST for under, you know? I was running hard!

Second place in the series! Photo courtesy of Joseph ‘Crazy Legs’ Camillieri.

And luckily I did get under 20:00 by a fair margin- gun time was 19:22, chip..can’t remember haha. Good enough! I got 5th in my AG, and then we had the series awards. It was confusing at first because none of the 5k times were loaded so nobody knew what they had placed in, and the placings did have an effect on the series end awards. I was in 3rd place, until they called out the placings and I – in a big upset lol- moved to 2nd?!

Yeah!!

$50 gift card to Frontrunners was all mine, baby!! šŸ™‚

And the race results never did get loaded, so a few days later we saw them. Ha, my AG was quite competiive this year, phewww!

Grateful to have a good racing season, nice weather until the last race (how??) and lovely to see my run community buddies and enjoy some excellent post-race snacks. Until next time, racing!!! šŸ™‚

Dashing through the snow- literally!

So on new year’s day, I had the dumbest/best idea, springing from one of my barn mates. She had taken her mini out and had him pull her around on her skis!
I don’t have xc skis, but I do have downhill skis, so I figured…If she could do it, so can I! I will just get Ian to control Oats and I talked it over with Oats’ half leasor and she suggested I loop the longe line through his girth, and use that as a handle.
So we did it!


Ian dug my skis out from the netherworld of our stairs storage (not an easy feat mind you!) the day after NYE (and we weren’t even that hungover, lucky us!!) and off we went to give it a try šŸ™‚
And how did it go?
Really well! At first…


We cruised around, Ian suggested he NOT ride Oats in the field but instead run him, which turned out to be a very smart suggestion, lol.
We cruised around, my barn mate rode her horse and took pictures and video for me, and we had a blast!

Until…
The last go-around where I said let’s do it one more time! And Oats thought…yeah one more time WHERE I GO BANANAS
And he took off bucking and bolting, and I was like oh fuuuuck first he’s going to kick me, or Ian, but then we let go of the ropes and reins and he bolted straight up the hill…To my barn mate’s horse, who lost her shit and bolted through the gate to the barn yard.
FML.
So, I got dumped with my skis at the bottom of the effing hill, and had to begin the grim march up, wondering if Oats had murdered my barn mate and her horse…
But everyone was ok! They had a bit of a rough ride through the gate, eek, but made it with all tack and persons intact.
PHEW!
So, that was the end of that little adventure, hahaha.
But it was fun! So that counts I guess šŸ™‚

WordPress is pretty much broken and other Xmas fun

When I last left, I had a nice time in Kelowna visiting family, despite the growing spectre of bad weather + Omicron threatening most of everyone’s Xmas holidays!

I came home (flight was only delayed for over an hour) in the evening and then by morning we were up and packed for Christmas in Royston with my in-laws! When we left it was chilly and rainy, but that would immediately change…

But first, we visited the lovely Kingfisher hotel and spa to check out their beautiful lights display with my inlaws. They live quite close to it, and it is really a gorgeous place.

We cruised around Courtenay to look at the Xmas lights and were amazed by this guy- as it turns out, this house and skeleton are owned by an acquianteance of mine’s parents. Small world!!

Then my husband generously got us visits to the Kingfisher’s Hydropath experience, which I LOVED. Soooooo nice and relaxing, it’s a very expensive but super nice things to do and wow, you leave feeling tired hahah.

But we still had Christmas! It snowed a TON up in Royston on Christmas and we also lost power at his parents house, booo. We also spent three hours shoveling. Three of us! The worlds longest driveway?? Snow sooo heavy and thick, man. At least it wasn’t super cold out, but it did make me feel excited for our next adventure- back to cross-country skiing! šŸ™‚

And on Xmas eve we visited with my friend and her sister and mom, of whom also bought houses close to my in-laws. That makes four people I know who have moved up-island…Maybe the writing is on the wall? Should I move to Cumberland, Courtenay or Comox???

We swam around in her mom’s AMAZING giant hot tub/therapy swim pool and it was sooooo cool. I loved it!

And were all limbered up for skiing the next day too! We hit the slopes in the afternoon and I rented everything online, so it was a breeze to swing up to the Alpine Centre at Mt. Washington and go for a good few hours of x-c skiing. The weather was pretty good, considering it was basically a blizzard the day before (we walked to my friends’ mom’s place, lol). A bit tricky to drive but wow, such a gorgeous day for skiing. Of course, I took Ian on the longest route possible by accident (Far East) and we had to hustle our buns to get back in time before the rentals closed and so did the trails, eek!

We did get a chance to feed the whiskeyjacks though, so cute, I just love them!

It felt nice to get out and get active for sure. The only downer part was the absolutely miserable weather we drove home in on Boxing Day. WOW it was nightmarish. Basically a blizzard with black ice most of the way back, with a special shout-out to Nanaimo for their absolute HORRENDOUS highway conditions. We got caught waiting after two minor accidents, so it was a good 5.5 hours home. At least we made it alive, jesus. It was bad.

And waiting for me at home? More snowstorms!! šŸ˜¦

Man!

Revelstoke!

A few years ago I went to a cocktail event here in Victoria and tried a fun pecan whiskey that was called Revelstoke because they wanted to ‘Stoke the Revel’ and man, it made me laugh every time I thought of it!

So naturally we went to Revelstoke to really get into the party scene šŸ˜‰

Ok not really but after Christina Lake, we wanted to get some hiking in and my husband is a trip-planner extraordinaire (I am terrible at it, just awful) so we had something different to do and enjoy in each place. We camped for 1 night after an extremely long and kind of tough travel day (avoid Hwy 30…it’s 100km of freaking dirt road and can get very shifty for about 30kms and takes FOREVER)…. We camped at a site just outside the bridge and apparently next to the train, ha.

Marmots blend in really well to the rocks.

Not a restful night, really. Plus Gidget decided she hated camping and her max was 2 days, so she was in a deflated snit about it all day and night, refusing to eat, moping around, just nothing. Argh, dogs! The campsite was pretty lame, sites so close you could peer into your neighbours tent but it had excellent clean and nice washrooms with great showers, so no complaints there!

Ok for one night, no thanks for more- particularly if you are Gidget!

We then stayed at the Stoked Hotel and man the rooms were hilariously small- basically like a closet? Oh wait, no closet though, lol. Oh well Gidget was happy to be in a room again at last, where she belongs like a princess šŸ™‚

Wild strawberries!

We did a small loop the first day of hiking at Revelstoke Mountain National Park (up to Inspiration Loop) and found SO many berries- it was amazing!! Thimbleberries, black huckleberries, blueberries, strawberries and wild raspberries. Lucky us! And…lucky for the bears, because we promptly walked into one on the trail. It stood up briefly, but we shouted as we walked back down the trail and it left us alone, thank god. I had Gidget in a backpack, so I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of a bear encounter…Eeek.

Yes there was snow! It was a sub-alpine lake we were heading to. Eva Lake.

We then went up to the ski jump and that is a cool 1km straight uphill, hot hot hot! Did some great strawberry picking on the way though.

We had a selection of great restaurants and bakeries to go to, so awesome. We took some bakery items hiking with us for a quick lunch, and it was delicious! That night we went out to the Craft Beer restaurant for some sweet beers, mac and cheese and a lame salad (ok the salad tasted great but the dressing was non-existent?!!) So a bit of a miss there.

View from the ski jump. Steeeeep

The next day we set out for a real hike and could leave Gidget in the room. We chose a very accessible loop at the Park, and it cost $20 to drive up and hike there. It was nice to be able to like drive 30 mins to the top of the mountain and hike from there- sooo easy to access, great for hikers like us who are not serious and don’t want to spend two days doing it.

The loop was about 6m, took us to two beautiful lakes, NO bears and three marmots were sighted!!! So amazing. We walk-ran it (I am still recovering from multiple leg injuries 6 months ago) and it was pretty rocky and tough in some spots. I also tripped as I am running in shoes that are no way appropriate for hiking and almost bailed face-first into a rock. Phew!!

It was beautiful to see and a great way to spend the day. We cruised back, chatted with the Park Rangers, and they suggested another short loop to read more about the Indigenous Peoples who lived on the land. It was an informative and fun little loop (1k?) and after that, a short run back to the car for another KM and we were done!

By that time it was getting very smoky. Unfortunately there are serious wildfires and one started up at Sicamous quite close to Revelstoke when we landed there. The smoke started blocking out the sun šŸ˜¦ We had the great fortune to only be there for 1 really smoky day and then we were off to Kelowna to visit my family.

We enjoyed a new restaurant that night too- the Taco Club! I can highly recommend, good but pricey margaritas with some unusual twists, and I had the burrito bowl and NO WAY could I finish it- my husband had to. Too much food! Always a good thing šŸ˜‰

Nothing Feels Natural

Finally we had some sun! In fact, we are now on THREE whole days of sun! Can you believe it?! I can’t. We honestly had close to 3 months of straight rain, or wind and rain, or wind/rain/snow combo. Not a single clear day for months, and boy does that drain a person…

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Daisy is at another stable now, but Oats loves his friends!Ā 

Friday I had my dressage lesson and it was really good! I wasn’t expecting much, given it was basically a tornado with pouring rain, the arena was super flooded and Oats was feeling okay but not amazing. However he really rallied and we worked on straightness in the canter on the diagonal fences, and then some head-to-the-wall leg yielding. Success! He was quite good and sweet. Love my boy šŸ™‚

Saturday the ring was still nuts and the vibe a bit off but not too bad, it was a bit quieter which is nice, and so Oats and I worked on transitions, and his leg yields. The canter to the left is still..eh. We will call that a ‘work in progress’ shall we?

Sunday I had a race (Cedar 12K recap coming soon!), and then managed to finagle a bareback 20 minute ride on Oats after- you know I can’t resist getting a ride in, any way, or anytime I can! He was very sweet, and apparently had spend the entire night running amok outside of his paddock, going horse to horse to play bite-face with the ones who would oblige him! He then was exhausted and spent the afternoon flat on his side, sacked out. Phew!

Monday I was tired from the race, but also determined to do my ‘homework’ which I do try to do once per week- straightness on the diagonal jumps AND trot fences. It was good! I did find that when I posted trot in, I was able to control the take-off spot a bit better, rather than coming in two-point using the ‘hope and pray’ method…! Good to know. I think I ride Oats better when I am more ‘connected’ through my seat, vs straight-up butt out of the saddle 2point.

Things you learn eh? 25 years in and I’m still learning.

Anyways, day off for me, Oats teaches a beginner tonight, and I am off to dinner with friends to the new place: Boom & Batten. I hope it is good, it is very pricey.

Buy you some time

Well it’s officially ‘Snowpocalypse’ over here on the Island! White winter for sure. We have about a foot of snow in our neighbourhood by the water. I put my big treads on – the Saucony Peregrine shoes- and jogged to work today. It kind of sucked, it’s tiring to run in snow and while I made an effort to run in the street, it’s still a tough slog. Oh well, a good cardio workout šŸ™‚

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Happier this year!Ā 

I’m not sure if I will be able to make it out to the stables though- two days off and I start getting VERY itchy to go and see my dear pony! I know he is being taken care of and is safe though.

The critters are enjoying the snow- Tucker was playing in it yesterday! A marked difference from last year, when he sat angrily in the snow and it piled up on top of him, hahah.

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And I had one frightening incident (side note- why the DRAMA lately? jesus christ I am so OVER it). I was leading Oats up the hill to the stables, when the fellow rider in front of me who was leading her horse- the horse paused slightly and LASHED OUT her hind hoof in a huge kick. She kicked my coffee mug straight out of my hands and it went flying! The horse wears steel hind shoes too, so jesussss I got incredibly lucky. SO lucky that it wasn’t my hand that got broken, or my freaking face.

We both never saw it coming. That was the most chilling part. Usually you can read something happening by body language- they get spooked, antsy, angry or pissy. The horse looked chill, didn’t even raise her head and BOOM!! Kicked. I have been around horses for over 20 years and I have NEVER been kicked in my life. Until now, I guess? It scared the bejeezus out of both of us. The owner was really sorry- and it’s 100% not her fault, at all. It was just a really scary incident.

It was also a wake up call to me, to be very aware and careful with handling horses. When you are around them this much, you get complacent. Until something really serious happens, like Monday.

First the dog attack, and then getting kicked by a horse. World, please stop.

You know this doesn’t just happen to anyone

Good god, this weekend. We have snow coming down, temps dropping to -4 with a wind chill of -10?! Here, on the Island of all places? PLUS my weekend was kind of…really sucky. Drama-rama…

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From last year- not this again?!

Friday started off great though, I had a FUN dressage lesson and I loved it! We were having a blast, Oats and I šŸ™‚ We worked on jumps (in dressage?! They were teeny tiny), and focused on ‘contact’ and not letting Oats choose the take off spot. It was really cool and a good exercise to feel his hind end power! What a neat lesson.

And then on Saturday, all hell kind of broke loose..I went riding, and Oats was fine, fun to ride and everything was great. I got home and took my dear dog Gidget out for a walk around the block. I was listening to my headphones, we were cruising down the sidewalk when a dog ran out of someone’s yard and ran aggressively at Gidget (who is fearful of dogs), and grabbed her throat?!!! WTF?! I could NOT believe what was even happening? It was such a blur. I was trying to grab Gidget to pick her up, and she was trying to run away, and this fucking dog was on her throat…Gidget was shrieking. It was terrible! I screamed so loudly my throat hurt.

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Who dares to hurt the love of my life?! No WAY will I let that go.Ā 

The asshole owners got their awful dog back, and then yelled at ME that they already apologized. WTF? No, no no it doesn’t work that way. I yelled at THEM that they didn’t SOUND very sorry, assholes!! I knew exactly where the dog had come from too, so I had the house number. They then got into their car and drove off?! Three of them. Good god.

One of their neighbours had witnessed the whole thing and asked if Gidget was ok (she was, thankfully), and then told me that she knew them, and that their dog was ‘very nervous’ and I said it isn’t nervous, it’s aggressive and that is NOT OK, it wasn’t restrained, no leash, no collar, no nothing! Again…WTF??

I chatted with her for a bit- she was really nice! She was telling me about these cute little dogs that look like Ewoks, so I am going to do some research to see what they look like šŸ™‚

I then went home, got in my car and took photos of their house and the witnesses’s house. I called Animal Control, and reported it verbally to them. They asked me to email them a written statement and attach the photos I had taken, which I did. They were very kind and considerate, and I was pleased to have them take this seriously- it certainly felt serious, and I was beyond angry with the verbal aggression and lack of caring by the dog owners.

I was also grateful that Gidget was ok (but now she is traumatized by loose dogs, poor thing), and I am very watchful for any more incidents that I may need to report. Animal Control said they were going to take this seriously and go and talk to the owners, which is a great response.

It’s also a lesson to me- since I seem to have regular confrontations, it is important to me that I do not look like a victim. If anyone accosts me, or has something they want to confront me with or get aggressive with me, I will SCREAM and YELL and MAKE A HUGE SCENE!

It gets you witnesses. That is the most important thing. Don’t fuck with me.

Also a question for the ages- why do I always have these weird run-ins with horrible, aggressive people? Like, I put my headphones on, mind my own business, and walk on…and get assaulted verbally by people, or body slammed by one person, or screamed at by drivers, or bike riders, or men on the street. ????? Riddle me this?!

I hate people.

 

Don’t let it get to you: Riding fieldtrip!

So this weekend we had our rescheduled trip out to the fancy environs of Fairlawn, the stables owned by a trainer and her family. I ride with this trainer regularly, but we wanted the whole meal-deal- a ride in her fabulous indoor with all the works! And we were NOT disappointed! It was lovely šŸ™‚

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They still had a lot of snow, but the driveways were cleared enough to be able to get the horse trailer (my friend hauls for us, it’s her rig/truck) onto the property and the horses off and tacked up.

The place is gorgeous! We had soooo much room, we didn’t know what to do with it! Oats and I worked on the counter-canter loop and boy did it feel different with so much space to play with. Not gonna lie, we struggled a bit but when I figured it out, so did Oats and he was happy to comply. I still feel a bit like the loop challenges me personally, and so it’s something I want to ‘finesse’ a little more until our next horse show…

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Synchronized waiver-signing šŸ˜‰

Which is counting down! Our first dressage schooling show will be later in April šŸ™‚ I can’t wait to take my guy out more. We had a really nice time, and it was great to be able to practice in a bigger arena.

Hold onto something

After a disappointing week (ok, weeks!) of freezing, tons of snow, ice and blah leading to some serious cabin fever, I was OVERJOYED with how awesome the weekend was. And it was a long weekend to boot! Yes!!

I was able to zip out and ride Oats really fast on Friday and IĀ so needed it!Ā 

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Photo courtesy of Sarah C.Ā 

I was also under a tight timeline because on Friday I took my husband out to dinner for our Valentine’s Day (I was supposed to have a jump lesson the actual day, and we all know how that turned out…) so our dinner was scheduled for the Friday. We went to Camosun College’s ClassRoom Restaurant and it was lovely! I highly recommend it- supporting the students and program, great food and very reasonably priced. Win-win-win!

Saturday was back to riding as per usual. There was still a lot of snow at the stables and the trip down to the arena was slippery and treacherous. I basically waterskiied off my boot heels all the way down, clinging to Oats’ mane. He was not loving it.

He was good to ride though, just lovely and even though he was irritating me when I was mounting up (grabbing at EVERYTHING ugh) he was focused and down to business for our ride. I also had another idea up my sleeve- begged my friend to come out to the outdoor arena with us to take photos! Basically the only good thing to come out of the massive amounts of snow.

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I loved it! Hahaha.

I also got a lot of running as the snow and ice melted and the sidewalks were safer. Yay! Went out for drinks on Saturday, and met up with a work friend for a run on Monday. Just overall loving life this long weekend. šŸ™‚

The incorruptible heart: Valentine’s Day!

Ugh, just some more weather-griping from me these days. It is cold, unseasonably so, with tons and tons of snow and ice. Yay?! UGH!! I hate it. I finally got out to ride Oats yesterday, driving very carefully. There is a lot of snow at the barn, but you can get to the barn, paddocks and arena- it’s a bit of a tough slip ‘n’ slide but I made it!

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Tucker is OVER IT.

Have a lesson tonight, and the forecast is calling for more snow. Can it just be rain, please please? For me? Good lord, I’m not cut out for this winter- business. Not even close! I was commenting to my colleague the other day that when the weather clears up, what will I be able to complain about? I’ve had a lot of ”good” material this new year (really sick, pulled a rib muscle, the dog-sitting adventure from the depths of hell, sick rabbit to join in the fun, and now tons of snow, ice and freezing temperatures).

Oh 2019, you aren’t making it easy to like you!

Keeping in mind of course, these are all minor annoyances and small gripes. Thank Christ.

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It looks pretty until there’s 2ft of the damn stuff! Photo courtesy of Sarah C.

Happy Valentine’s Day? I’ll meet you on the other side, when the sun shines and the sidewalks aren’t treacherously deadly.