We all want the same things: Comox Half-Marathon Race Recap!

Alternate title: (nothing hurts like a bruised ego part #2 and a visit to physical therapy the day after a race).

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Second in my age-group, and I picked up my missing Cedar 12k gold medal too. Ian won a sweet door prize- a growler & fill from Forbidden Brewing Co.!!

So yeah I am in a world of hurt today, AND also my race on Sunday up Island in Comox was…Less than glorious, haha. I wasn’t super optimistic about it, given high stress levels for the past few weeks, absolutely heinous allergies (ongoing), and just feeling kind of beat-down. Nothing glaring, just not feeling super optimal. And I was kind of right, haha.

It was very much a sub-optimal race. I remembered last year and was thrilled with my time then- it felt GREAT!!! And I was rocking it!! I tried to keep that in mind and things just sort of started…Falling apart. It was weirdly warm- much warmer than I thought it was going to be. I immediately started sweating heavily and thought, ‘oh great I’m hot already…’ Unusual for this time of year and I was wearing shorts even- that NEVER happens!

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Photo courtesy of Joseph Camilleri, featuring the gentleman that matched me and kept my pace honest at least! 🙂

The first few KM’s I ran fast, but not ‘super’ fast…I recalled the ongoing rolling hills to the turnaround at 10-11km, but what I didn’t remember was the entire way up from like 4-9 is also rolling hills, so I kind of went up and up and up! Hm.

My pace started kind of sucking and I thought well, that’s ok. If I can hang on now, I can make it up on the back end (newflash- I couldn’t).

Went around the turnaround and thought ok here it goes!!! Big burst of speed!! Ahahahaha nope. In my mind I was running fast, in reality, I wasn’t even making up what I had lost. It was kind of demoralizing. I felt hot and kind of nauseous the entire way back. My stomach was churning- not terribly but I just felt strange and not dialed in. We ran to about 16-17KM and the wheels started falling off for me. I felt lightheaded and my legs felt so tired, so heavy. No matter what I was doing, I couldn’t go fast?! I grabbed some E-lite drink and choked on it for a good few minutes. Shoot!

I was running neck and neck with another guy and he even waited when I was choking, to see if I was all right. Hahah nice eh? We were both pretty deep into the pain train…

At 18km I thought yes here ‘s the big push! Andd….flat legs. Each Km was about 5:00/km, which was far slower than I wanted or expected (here’s the ego part again). It clearly wasn’t happening for me yesterday. I tried as hard as I could, and I didn’t have it. I was gasping for breath, and just couldn’t do it.

We finished at 1:36:28, which was far slower than last year but again, I think many of us had the same race and were riding the struggle bus too. I placed 2nd in my age group (which is funny because I was 5th last year with a better time!). And my stomach was just miserable after, took me awhile to settle long enough to enjoy the fantastic chili and snacks that they had on offer. I still think Comox has the BEST after-race spread, hands-down. 😉

Many thanks to the fine volunteers, cheering squads and food servers- they really make this race something special! Even with all my whining and moaning, it was a gorgeous and warm day, and nice to be outside. Today hurts though, and to add the pain I had a great idea to get some active release done on my hip injury and glutes…Woww. Let’s just say I’m glad THAT is over. Yeesh.

 

 

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Oceanside Mother’s Day 10k: Race Recap!

Now this is a hard one to recap. To sum up: It sucked. It sucked out loud!

Last year running the course.

I did feel ready for this race too. My training has been pretty good, I’ve been enjoying my training- short runs, long runs, hill runs. My last race in Sooke was decent on what was considered a fairly challenging course, even after I drank and went partying the night before, showed up late to the race and had 5 minutes to pin my bib on and sprint to the start, and having to pee the entire race…

So the stars were aligned, relatively speaking, for a great race this weekend. I was rested, except for my shoulder and back killing me from when I crashed through the jump on Saturday. And then I completely BOMB this race. What the eff?

Last year I was unfairly rewarded with a first and a 2nd overall with a pretty mediocre time. This year, my time was better and I didn’t podium! Ah, Karma…

It was very windy, with a wind warning in our town. We started, and my first KM was ludicrously fast- 4:11/km. Very unsustainable for me. I slowed it down, and when I do this I usually take it to 4:22 or so…Imagine my horror when I felt like I’d taken it down to that, and checked my watch and it was at like 4:38/km WTF? How did I slow down that much? I still felt like I was running my lungs out???

It was surreal. The harder time I was having to run, the worse my times were getting. I was literally dragging myself along, and my legs felt like lead. Lifting them seemed like a huge struggle.

I watched my times bounce around each km between 4:34-5:00km/hr. Yes that’s right, FIVE. WTF? I think I maybe went that slow running up a hill at Sooke but that was after a good pace of 4:14-4:30 the whole race. What was GOING ON?! I wanted to give up so hard.

I was gasping for breath, and my times sank lower and lower. I struggled over the gravel section in a very picturesque section of the race. I wanted to enjoy it more, get that ‘flow’ feeling I love so much when I get in the groove racing, but it NEVER came to me. Not one. Every kilometer felt like a major struggle to breathe, make my legs go.

I was feeling exhausted, beat up, burned out, sore shoulder, out of breath, and breathing so hard my lungs and throat burned. I was working way too hard for so little.

It was a very discouraging race. I got passed by everyone, and only managed to pass 1 runner on my way to the finish. I finished with a decently strong time of 46:34 (for this course, not for me), but I wasn’t happy with the way the race ran. I failed, it hurt, I just never had that good, ‘pure’ race moment I run to find. I can blame a few factors: terrible allergies that my prescription meds stacked with over the counter antihistamines can’t even begin to touch, a very strong headwind, some mild injuries from the fall the day before.

The good news? My pre-race stomach issues were pretty much NOT a problem this time and I was able to eat breakfast (yesss!!) AND even enjoy the super generous spread at the finish!! Here’s to that keeping going in the future, whoop! I normally struggle with eating on race days, both in the morning and after the race.

Thanks again to the volunteers who put on a very safe and fun race, who were very encouraging and hosted a super awesome spread of snacks after. The best one yet! And I liked the ice cream at the end too. 🙂 Yeah!

Oh and last year? I would have loved this time. So funny, how perspective changes everything eh.

 

Now boarding the struggle bus

Jump lesson last night and woooow…I was just NOT clicking with Oats. I have no idea why (hmm, maybe the death of my friend’s dad, my car being an idiot and having to pay a repair bill this week, oh and feeling overwhelmed at work?), yeah I have no clue!

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So easy and yet so hard??? Why??

So anyways, we set up a small gymnastic and I absolutely flailed my way through it. Smashed my face on Oats’ neck when he went to canter it, as I awkwardly fell back, and then forward, and then BANG! Face meets neck. Ouch!!!!!

Well, I don’t know how to to ride today, was my immediate thought.

It got ok, and then worse, and then…well I don’t know.

We worked through the gymnastic w/o reins, because clearly I had relinquished my rights to riding normally with my idiotic display…Oats was also in fine form, wiggling, wobbling, taking off ridiculously early, heading for a chip, he even spooked?!! This is a pony who didn’t even blink an eye when geese were like, getting killed on the roof?!!

We had one really nice go-round, took a break to talk about cheerful things like death, and then I proceeded to go blow up another round. Greeeatttt….

Fumbled and tripped our way through the grid. Lovely.

Went to try grid again and fumbled and wobbled through it. Well, ok. Take a massive chip to the next fence. ARGH!

Single fence after that was good, and then headed back to the gymnastic. Oats leaps over, I flail wildly and pull him to stop, very narrowly missing the standards. Okayy…Take 2: We go over, I stay firmly planted in the backseat waving my arms..We make it over. Canter to the next fence, it goes well. Canter to a few more singles, also good.

I have a righteous fire lit within me, for some reason….You know grids are often easier for horses and riders? So, WTF is my problem?

Wow, it was kind of a rough ride. I have a headache today, thanks to my nose…I guess we need these rides to make us really appreciate the good ones??? Please tell me that is the truth!

Sidenote: I am making another appointment for a session with the equine counselor. It’s time for a tune-up.

More fun with arrows & haybales

Jump lesson last night, I was quite pleased with how Oats was in my dressage lesson, so I was hoping he’d continue his winning ways last night!

And, I was not disappointed. He came in with a good attitude, warmed up fairly nicely and we started working over…gymnastics. (insert face falling here). It’s no secret that gymnastics and I are not always on good terms- except for a brief fling this summer where I was actually rocking them…We tend to struggle greatly with them when everyone else is like, hey I love gymnastics, they do all the work for you, you just have to sit there?!

Yeah, except for me!

I even said I’d do them as canter-in, and to this moment, am not sure if that was a wise choice or a bad choice? Oh well!

They went ok for the most part but was having a difficult time with the placing pole. We came in short a whole bunch of times, Oats was good on his feet and figured it out, until we added a very small oxer and then I was like, whaa…I felt like we were leaving long to it, a lot. Turns out maybe that’s just how oxers are ridden? Who knew?

We had a two fumble throughs, a stop that was my fault, and then a very strong ride through, and then on to my more favourite activity–coursework!

We rode the gymnastic to a diagonal fence, to the point of an arrowhead-so, two poles resting on the haybale and we rode against the point of the arrowhead, then around to a fence on the long side, the diagonal fence again, and then back to the arrow- this time riding with the arrow, a very inviting fence.

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Picture this with a more inviting haybale. ‘Against the arrowhead’ style of jump.

I got some bad distances as Oats was starting to suck back- but, I managed to put my leg on- finally! And we figured it out, and it was really fun! I love riding courses, the jumps were tiny and non-threatening to me hahah and well, it was just normal and cool to ride. I’m really getting better about acknowledging where I am in my ride- I don’t ignore fear, I recognize it, accept it, and move on from it.

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The more inviting side- picture this with a haybale.

I still majorly need to work on getting more leg when I feel him sucking back- that is a continued issue for us.

Nicole said we need to do gymnastics EVERY jump lesson. UGH.

When I was recounting this to my husband, he said pommel horse, paralell bars or vaulting? Hahahahha. Yeah.

Lock it away in your heart under unfinished business

Jump lesson last night, and I was quite unsure how exactly we would set up a jump course or gymnastic exercise given half the ring is kind of flooded right now…And we are supposed to stay out of it! It’s super mushy and gross.

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No fear, apparently. Nicole set up some jumps in a ‘circle of death’ variation, oh joy of joys…As pictured above, but it was 3 jumps on a circle with 4 strides between jumps.

Oats and I tend to really struggle with jumps on a circle- see our recent challenges with the green box on a circle, ha. So, this was going to be a very challenging lesson for us, not in jump heights or nerves, but in sheer frustration.

Oats from 2012-think we've progressed?

We worked over it from the left, trot over x-rail, canter the two other jumps set just as poles on the ground. Then we gradually brought them up to x-rails and it went quite smoothly, some bobbles when I lost my track or forgot to look where I was going, but overall quite nice.

THEN…

The right lead, dun dun dunnnnnnn….

It was not the success that the left lead was, at all. Oh man, we struggled. Jump the pole to the x-rail too long, miss my turn for the x-rail. Rinse, repeat. Swap leads, fumble to the x-rail. Swap leads, miss the last pole. It was struggle-bus time, by like a million.

My eye kept getting ‘stuck’ when I was looking to the right, so instead of looking right, I’d kind of keep wanting to look straight, or even sort of left? ARGH why? We set up guiding poles on the front and back of the x-rail to help us even further, because it was pretty clear that we were noooot winning this exercise.

Newsflash- Oats is better on the left, haha. We never even got to put the rest of the x-rails up on the right, because I just could NOT get it sorted out! Finally we did it 1 last time, Nicole asked if I wanted to stop or could do it again, and I was fine with doing it again, and we finally got it. I left it on that, I mean, we could start bringing the x-rails all up, so there are 3 of them, but I didn’t want to over-frustrate Oats and tax his already dwindling patience with me.

Nicole said that Oats smelled nice when she came over to give him a hug. Cute eh?