Hatley Castle 8k- Race Recap!

This past Sunday was the Hatley Castle 8k- a fun and challenging race in the VIRA Island Race Series. Notable for a very hilly course, scenic views, and tasty hotdogs for the participants!

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Yum!

It was also freezing. There was a light dusting of snow on the ground, and the gravel was slick and icy. A windstorm was currently raging in Victoria, luckily we only got hit with it at Royal Roads when we ran along the water at the start. Anyways, it felt pretty lousy.

I didn’t have very high hopes for the race- not that this was bumming me out, but that I’m focusing more on building more Km’s into my week and not taking a lot of time off during the week= deader legs. I know this going in, so I am not using these races for goal races, I’m realistic about what I can accomplish.

But…I’m also improving. I am getting faster, even with not-so-fresh legs supporting me.

Logistics were pretty smooth, lots of parking, hit the port-a-potties early so no lineups, and I felt pretty chill (haha, I was frozen). We warmed up, I stupidly kept my fleece on for the race b/c I was frozen, and when we hit the start line, I fumbled trying to zip it up. I couldn’t! We were going too fast. I also hit my watch ‘START’ and it didn’t. So my recipe for success:

  1. Run with your jacket flapping like Superwoman. Yeah that’s not annoying at all!
  2. Watch doesn’t start. Notice 1km in.
  3. It is so cold my exercise asthma was kind of flaring but not badly so.
  4. ….
  5. Success?

We ran up the first hill, I was getting passed like crazy but I had a feeling like- nah, I can do this. I will wait. I will bide my time and then I will go.

To be honest this ‘zen’ mindset is more to keep me from freaking out and trying to run faster when I am getting passed early. That’s a quick way for me to ruin a race. I have to run MY race.

So I hung on, lost a bit of speed and enthusiasm up the longer hill and we hit the flatter gravel section. Now it’s flat but also gravel….slippy. The guy running ahead of me slid pretty dramatically around the turnaround but he didn’t fall! Came damn close though.

I plugged along, not running great but kind of looking forward to the forested trail section. We ran for awhile on the gravel and then turned into the woods. Yes! My time to shine! (sort of). I was able to tackle the hills well here, played leapfrog with another woman runner up to the top of the hill. By then, I was able to pass her and stay past. I had been getting passed by her consistently up until then. Sweet!!

Then the loooong downhill. Ouch my hamstrings.

Flat section, some more gravel, and a slight downill again. Use it! Free speed.

And…the long leadup to the finish. I didn’t really sprint (ha, yeah like I could) and my hamstring was feeling really cranky…

But I am happy with my time: 36:39 and good enough for 1st in my AG women’s 30-34. First time ever!

(also for context: This time last year would have netted me 6th place. Ha).

Thanks again for the volunteers, race directors and VIRA for putting on a well-run, smoothly executed race despite some weather challenges!

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Frozen, freezing, froze

UGH. Mostly just a rant about how terrible the weather was this weekend, AND last night. FREEZING.

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Last week.

I don’t really want to ride, or run, at all in the deep-freeze. Plus we live on the island and it’s never supposed to get this cold?!! What gives. I rode grudgingly on Saturday and it was pretty miserable. Oats was good but I was just…stiff and cold. Went for a run on Saturday after riding and almost died. It was HORRIBLE. I was almost crying it was so miserable. Freezing, rain, toes frozen, face windburned and chapped…UGH.

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Practically this week. wow. 

Sunday was marginally better and I had a fun ride where I got to jump some small jumps with a ground crew (my friend Sarah’s friend Christi was visiting and set for us very nicely) and then she rode Sarah’s horse too! A fun day all around. And I wasn’t bitterly frozen.

I then hoofed it to some hills and ran a decent hill loop (and then wondered why my legs feel so tired today…) and called it quits on exercise. Husband and I ended the evening with a footbath each, with foot soak and peppermint foot lotion. Ha, the things that make you happy in the winter.

Monday I had an equine counselling session, and I rode briefly beforehand. It was FREEZING. I caught my breath going down to the indoor it was so awful. My eyes were watering just walking around. Terrible. I toughed it out for a bit, but just couldn’t warm up. Probably the coldest night I have felt of all the deep freeze nights last week. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

And today? Ran to work and it was pleasantly chilly but I was overdressed (afraid of freezing like Saturday/yesterday) and had to take my hat off I was sweating so much. Harumph.

Tuesday dressage, and no Thur jump lesson this week.

Rust buster for real: Prairie Inn Harriers 8k race recap

First off, thanks to the volunteers and race organizers. This is a VERY smoothly run race, and I absolutely loved the post-race food options (great soup, hot dogs! pizza?! wow!!). A super effort by all involved and made my recovery that much more fun.

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7th place!! Photo is courtesy of the Prairie Inn Harriers.

Now for the race recap: Wow, this was a lot harder than I felt it should have been, and it was 100% my fault- I went out FAST in the beginning (first downhill km at 3:55? No way can I run that fast, and I was just getting caught up and silly). It was then a strugglefest for the rest of the race, thanks to my poor planning.

My next km was still very fast for me- 4:16. Then I dropped rapidly and started losing my will to live…

4:46, 4:35, 4:39…eeeeek.

Basically my race was a textbook example of poor pacing efforts, combined with another perfect positive split. So, don’t do what I did- ha. I honestly felt like I would have paid someone to let me quit midway through, it felt that rough.

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Well deserved (until I fell off Oats shortly after).

I wanted to puke, pass out and collapse. I had the distinct pleasure of getting passed right left and centre all throughout the race, which made it tough to ‘run my race’ instead of feeling like I was getting caught up and passed constantly. The ‘hurry scurry’ feeling just never left and I couldn’t achieve that ‘flow’ that I try to during races.

Maybe it’s because I’m out of practice for taking a few months off racing, and the 8k, while a fine distance, is just not my distance.

It was a very chilly day and it actually started snowing like crazy when we finished. Thank god we missed that though- a stroke of good luck. I was happy with my time (36:06 net, 36:11 gun time) which is a slight improvement from last year (36:20), but I do still feel like if I ran a better, more competent race I would have fared wayyyy better. hahah.

At the finish, I wasn’t sprinting, I was struggling. I was huffing and puffing and trying to catch my breath, reeling and staggering at the end. I sat down on a retaining wall and felt dizzy. Yuck!

I was coughing heavily for the rest of the day, thanks to my incompetent lungs being slightly damaged- yuck again.

With my time I received 7th place AG, which is fine for a fairly competitive race.

And after the run, my husband and I enjoyed a very nice beer taster at Category 12, which is nearby, and then we headed to the barn so I could get a quick ride in on Oats. He spooked during my ride, and I promptly tumbled off. Not my day I guess? I was fine, landed on my feet and hopped back on and continued but yeeesh, I guess I was just tired, and not ‘with it’ haha.

Oh well, a lesson to learn for that day.

I am stiff as heck today though!

 

 

 

Snow?!

Yep it snowed here. Things have been insanely busy at work, coupled with a nice but fairly boring (ie- no big events) weekend, and some rides that are fine by themselves…Not much to blog about!

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The view today. Brrr.

I did bash the everloving hell out of my knee on Sunday- got too ambitious doing a turn to a pole and absolutely clobbered the jump standard and sent it freaking flying! Ouch I have two bruises now.

Every ride- the ride itself has been fine but then there is always just on THING that happens. I want one ride that is 100% uneventful- is that too much to ask?

Sunday- whang the hell out of my knee. Oats takes it all in-stride, no prob. While I am leading him back to the arena, the maintenance guy is working on the sprinklers to drain them (see cold weather/snow) and they go off in a terrific HISSSSS behind us. Oats is like WTF?!!! sigh…

Monday- Ride goes well, Oats feels stiff but works out of it well, and I think he was feeling cold-muscled and kind of ‘up’ because his trot was like Trot TROT trot TROT and very up and down, not so much forward.

Got a really fun ride in where we schooled poles like a jump course, Oats was steaming after! He had to be cooled out for a long time…When raccoons got in a fight outside the indoor arena, hissing and growing at each other. Freaked Oats right out! I hustled him up to the barn to cool him out in a more relaxing environment…

Just one ride? A non-drama ride?

Oh well!

A white Christmas? Not here!

We said ‘seeya’ to our condo and zipped up island to Ucluelet to the Black Rock resort for a few days of R&R before we did actual Christmas with my in-laws at their farm.

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Our fake Christmas tree. It looks nice, even though I still prefer real.

And it was SO worth it. The drive up wasn’t bad, there was snow on the pass/summit but nothing on the road (thank god. I was having flashbacks of our nightmare road trip to California a few years ago, where we had the most disasterous time…I was sure we were going to die).

All was good. The resort allows pets, so Gidget came with us! We had the hot tubs to ourselves, a really neat condo-type hotel accomodation, bathrobes galore, a rain shower, ’90’s movies on cable (Hook and Jumanji) booze, snacks, beers, chocolate and lots of lazing around.

We also did some storm watching, and it was quite violent. The beaches nearer to Tofino were closed for both watching/walking and surfing, because the surf and risk of rogue waves was so high!

It snowed at night, and Ian, Gidget and I enjoyed a walk in the snow- damn it was slippery-and we threw snow/ice balls at each other and at the dog. It also hailed a lot at night and man it was so loud.

We ate at Shelter, and it was good but I really wanted to try Wolf in the Fog, but they were closed when we were there, bummer. We also grabbed a coffee the next day in Tofino and put Baileys in it, and walked around town. It was absolutely FREEZING on the beach- so much so that we spent like, zero time on it…Got blasted off by the insane wind. So.Cold.

Sadly Ucluelet has a real lack of good restaurants- the best one apparently is Norwoods, with Black Rock’s Fetch being a close second, so we pretty much head to Tofino for any fine dining otherwise. They have a booming selection, compared with when we used to come in university.

Then we packed up and headed to the farm for a family Christmas- it was fine, I wished we had a tree there, because it doesn’t feel quite like Christmas to me without one. Oh well! The food was great, and it was nice to enjoy company without feeling pressured to do too much ‘family togetherness’ which always spells disaster in my family…

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sleepy time at home

 

Holiday fun at Parc Omega

In the land of the hungry deer

In the land of the hungry deer

A small detour for my blog to talk about what I did on my holiday- we went to Parc Omega, which is a really cool wildlife- themed park sort of safari thing. It’s in Montebello, just across the border from Ottawa.

Parc Omega

We’ve always gone in the past, and I’m still impressed with how they have maintained everything. The park looks beautiful, it’s open all-year round and the animals are kept in great shape and allowed to roam at will (except if they are a bit dangerous, then they are kept in enclosures for their and our safety!)

More carrots!

More carrots!

You can bring carrots and feed them from your car, and at the deer park area, get out and hand-feed the little deer. There is a small trapper’s cabin type thing, and you can buy more carrots, coffee and hot chocolate there too.

Close and personal bison

Close and personal bison

And the animals are so close! You can get up close and personal with so many of them, and even the ones that are behind fences are still really close. It’s amazing.

Moose fight

Moose fight

We went on December 24th this year, and it was a great time to go. My mom couldn’t make it because she wanted to stay and clean up the place to get it ready for the traditional lobster dinner we normally have, but otherwise she would have come as well, she loves that place.

Wolves or coyote? Cute anyways!

Wolves or coyote? Cute anyways!

I highly recommend a visit to Parc Omega if you’re ever out east. Totally worth it.

Lonely ibex

Lonely ibex