Quite like you: Bad ideas

So, where to start with this weekend? Maybe with the fact that I had a horrendous head cold, and was staring down the barrel of a majorly overscheduled weekend…With some dread/trepidation.

What was on tap? Saturday: Sooke Saddle Club Show and Tell in dressage (Training Level 2 and an attempt at Training Level 3) and then the MEC Race #3, The Pace Setter half marathon on Sunday (gulp!!). Did I mention I had a really nasty head cold that I am still trying to get over, combined with exercise-induced asthma that flares up badly when I have a cold/run hills/run long, and oh the hottest days Victoria will see this month?

What are you talking about, all I see is success….?? Right? Right?

Um, yeah no.

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Sooke Saddle Club Dressage Show ‘n’ Tell

But the Sooke Saddle Club show and tell went fairly well, Oats was being a bit of a dingus so we had some issues with contact…spooking and consistency (mine on this point). Oh and get this, I had gotten back from Nakusp on Tuesday, ran a track race Wednesday, had my lesson on Thursday where I printed out and ran through the WRONG TRAINING LEVEL TEST?! For Saturday. Shit!! I did print out the correct one in a big rush on Saturday morning but yes, my  head was definitely not in the game for anything, haha. And that was why we went off course in our first Training 3 test, and thankfully corrected that for the second one. I am a genius. (More on that later, like during the longest half marathon of my life).

So anyways, the judge was great and gave the feedback we needed. And I even made a goal for myself and Oats- try for First Level! I know it’s a reach goal, but I figure we can dream eh?

The scores were tough but VERY fair given what I was riding (sort of poorly, and got a MASSIVE charley horse in my leg, yay…mid-test) and how Oats was responding (not well). Great learning experience, and we even were lucky enough to have a friend swing by the ring and give me an Iced Capp!! Made my afternoon 🙂 🙂

It was a hot day, and I sweated through my belt. Phew. Foreshadowing for the race the next day…I got home at like 6pm. EEEK!

Stay tuned for the events of the next day….

VIRA race: Sook River 10k recap!

This was a very oddly timed race, chiefly because in past years (this is my third year with the series) it was run as the last race in the series & the series awards was hosted after it. In late April, so it was always quite warm and downright hot sometimes! I have very fond memories of wearing shorts and tank tops to  run in.

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For example, this was Sooke last year.

This year, it was moved originally to early Feb., and the race awards series was moved to Cedar 12k in later April. That didn’t work out so well, as our weather this year has been absolutely nightmarish and it snowed too much! The race was rescheduled to March 12th instead and I am happy to say, went off without a hitch!

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Splashdown! They sure weren’t kidding! Photo credit to Run Vancouver Island.

Sooke River 10k is a funny race. Lots of hills, ups and downs, and this year it featured a ‘water obstacle’ of a 14ft ankle-deep flooded section of the road. So yeah it always is an exciting race. The organizers did check the water carefully and warned us to bring extra dry socks and shoes, they weren’t kidding about it and it really was that deep, that big and we had go to through it TWICE! ha.

Splashdown! They were not kidding about the puddle!

This photo was taken by Run Vancouver Island.

I wasn’t feeling well last week, with a sore throat and swollen neck, so I wasn’t overly surprised when I woke up on Saturday AM with a head cold. Lovely.

That meant that I was going to have to be extra-good about sticking with my goal for this 10k- run conservatively, don’t blast off the start, and run paces you can focus and breathe at. Since my head felt like it was stuffed with wool, a sore throat and pressure building in my ears & sinuses, this was going to be tough but if I stuck to the plan, doable.

And it was~ It felt weird at first to be going that slow at the start. And then it got tough. And then we splashed through the puddle at the turnaround and my feet (soaked) started to feel like blocks of concrete…

Not gonna lie, I kind of dragged ass the last 5k. My feet were doubly soaked and I felt tired. However, my pace was fine (if conservative) and it allowed me to maintain quite well throughout the course.

I sprinted sort of to the finish, and that was honestly the worst go of it I had. I went through the finish gates and immediately had trouble breathing, gasping and struggling. I did take my rescue inhaler before the race, but my lungs were doubly compromised by my head cold and WOW that did a real number on them with my ‘sprint’. Bad idea- I couldn’t breathe, it felt like my lungs were clutched in a tight fist.

I walked a bit, gasping, and then it released.

It made me SO glad our 5k (which went really well) was last weekend. There is  no way I could, or even should, be sprinting when my lungs are compromised this badly.

It was an important lesson for me, and I got to feel what a real, if very brief, asthma attack feels like. Scary!

Anyways, post-run pancakes were great! And I bought a bunch of stuff, haha. The Victoria Marathon Society is now hosting the race, and for a fundraiser they were selling New Balance gear- technical t-shirts, 3/4 zip-ups, for a FANTASTIC price. I bought everything they had in XS, they had very limited selection but it was so cheap! A long-sleeved technical t-shirt for $10, and a 3/4 zip up for $20. Steal of a deal!!

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Me in the awards lineup with my New Balance 3/4 zip. I love it! Photo credit to Ceevacs Roadrunners.

And my finish place for the race? Not bad! There were a lot fewer race entrants this year, so my time of 47:22 netted me 5th out of 16. That is my slowest time ever  on this course, but hey I will chalk it up to training, and my health being impacted. Plus I have to save my energy for next weekend.

So let’s go: Weekend recap

Ride recaps- nothing too exciting since my good jump lesson. But, solid quality rides nonetheless.

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From the last race. Focused.

Sat/Sun, I can barely remember what I did, ha. I do recall working very hard on Saturday about corners at the canter, from diagonal to diagonal. Oats was very sweaty after, and we also worked on some quick steps-collected walk-quick steps. He did find that challenging.

My allergies are out of control despite my daily dose of Singulair, and my nose was running down my face the entire ride. YUCK. I spent the entire day coughing up phlegm or something, I just could NOT stop coughing. My nose didn’t stop running, and I was blowing it so much my ears hurt. Lovely…

Oh and it doesn’t end there either- after my ride, I went home and we went on a longer run, and I stupidly made and ate a salad about 30 mins beforehand. Dumb idea eh? I felt good for about 30 mins into our run, and then after that…Puked.

GROSS.

My stomach was fighting a battle and I lost. Yiiick.

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Probably from when I went out too fast.

My breathing also took a turn for the worse, as I was fighting off nausea and horrible stomach acid reflux, and the ever-present allergies, and when I finished my run my lips and hands had turned blue. Lovely.

My stomach felt shitty for the next two days, thanks to my meal+run choices. God.

And it was FREEZING on Saturday!

Sunday was definitely a bit warmer, had a decent ride on Oats where I schooled a few x-rails, nothing too hardcore. I packed my run clothes to the barn, and headed off to run a few hills from my old neighbourhood straight from the barn. I am a crafty cat!

It was pretty good and I learned my lesson about eating and just drank some iced tea, haha.

Back to the grind this week, with a session with my equine therapist yesterday and a dressage semi-private tonight.

Have you tried, trying? Cobble Hill 10k race recap!

Man, this one is hard to write because it kind of caps off whatever weird gloominess I was feeling about racing. It’s hard to be positive (even though there are TONS of things to be positive about!) when all I feel now when I am racing is how hard this is, how much I want to give up, and how shitty my times are given the sheer amount I am struggling.

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And they’re off! I am at the far left.

But, without further ado, my race recap!

Warning: it has a lot of gripes.

First gripe: Pouring effing rain. From the sun-soaked Saturday to a just-soaked Sunday, my husband and I were shocked out of our skins at how crummy the weather was for the race. I thought it was going to be grey out, but how cold and how WET everything was? UGH. Just UGH. I didn’t want to go outside, I didn’t want to stand at the start line, just nothing.

And I was just thinking about me, I wasn’t even thinking about all those poor, hearty volunteers! That is a rough day for them.

And to top it off, I injured by foot in a strange series of events the previous week, and by Saturday could barely walk on it. I jogged to the start line on Sunday with some serious apprehension- I had to jog because walking caused too much pain?! Oh no.

We made it to the front, and huddled under shelter with all of the other freezing, soaked runners. I grumbled about how I might pull off the course.

We started and as per my current ‘losing’ strategy, I blasted off and ran my first two KMs too fast- 4:05 and 4:16/km. That is not a sustainable strategy for me, and I should know better. I get excited, and just blast off! I also do this right now because last week, when I started off slower, I ran even slower and still kept struggling! So, that showed me that even when I start off slower, my body isn’t keeping pace and my breathing/stamina is seriously compromised.

So, start slow= stay slow. Start fast= go slower but still have a buffer? I am struggling, no doubt. And I can’t seem to find the answer.

This would then set the theme of the entire race. Slower, slower and slower. My per km pace dropped drastically between 4-5km, and then kind of hovered for awhile. I was exhausted- no energy. My legs felt like lead, and I couldn’t get my head in the game at all. I got passed a ton.

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Fierce

My foot didn’t bother me greatly until about 8-9km, when we ran on gravel. Then it definitely hurt. But I was kind of beyond trying. I was stuck in a tunnel of pain-misery and I can’t figure out why I am having SUCH a hard time this year. I’m in even better shape than I was last year, so why the physical disappointment?

I just feel like my body is letting me down, and I hate that feeling.

But, because I am proactive- I have a doctor’s appointment this week to try and figure out if there is indeed something physical going on–because I know I’m capable of better.

And I sort of weakly sprinted to the finish line, with a mediocre but not totally pathetic time of 45:54 gun and 45:51 chip time. So, I am back in the 45’s but just barely. Last year I was able to run a 45:23 and I actually felt way better. So, wtf is going on this year?

The food was fantastic, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere. No ribbons for me this year, as I  placed 11th (boo just missed 10th!) but my husband placed 7th in his category with an absolutely smoking time- sub 40. WOW.

And I am limping this week, as my foot is now swollen and close to being unwalkable. Joy of joys…

All my demons greeting me as a friend

(song title courtesy of my new obsession- Radio 2 Drive playlogs. From the artist Aurora).

Try try try.

After my grouch-fest on Thursday, I proceeded to have a very bitter day. I’ve had to be flexible this week, and I apparently do not do well with it.

I missed the gym and instead spent my lunch hour at the Dr’s (for good reasons, and I was really pleased how the appt went and glad I have such a positive and supportive specialist). But that meant my physical release of fitness wasn’t happening, and I had to stay a touch late to deal with some last-minute things.

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Cute AF

Important people weren’t happy with some of my work. Other important people I disappointed. I disappointed myself. I was bitter. Everything seemed to harass and annoy me. There was no way out.

I came home later than I hoped, and was then late to take out Gidget (who peed on my carpet, I guess serves me right for being late!) and was able to play fetch with her at the park, before getting dressed to go riding & then pick up my husband.

Go-go-go-go it felt like!

My ride was super blah and uninspiring, not because of Oats, but because *I* was in a snit fit for the day. He was moving out really nicely and quite forward, for him, and I couldn’t get my head in the game. Instead, I futzed around and watched my friend have a lesson. We chatted, hung out, and that was it. And it was totally what I needed that day.

My harassed, put upon feeling lasted all the way through picking my husband up (I was late, of course I hit every single red light). Couldn’t I catch a break? Eff.

I wanted to shop like crazy, drink everything in sight, eat Smarties until my teeth sting, run until my legs hurt, eat too much, feel something. Oh well, Friday today is a new day and I am hoping my weird funk lifts. I have things to look forward to! And I want to look forward to them.

(and actually I am feeling more hopeful today too!) Much better than this week.

What are you doing with your whole life? How about forever?

Oh man, this winter is just dragging for me. In excruciating detail: the wind is insane, it’s been unseasonably COLD for about six weeks now?! It’s dark. Work is insane. I miss my friend who moved away. My family is…a work in progress…shall we say?

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This is about the third time I have used this photo to illustrate how awful the wind has been. I was scared for my life!

Needless to say, I’m so over it. I have been struggling over the past oh six weeks or so with feelings of intense unhappiness. It isn’t really every day, but it’s been frequent enough to make me seriously wonder- why can’t I find joy in things I love? In the everyday? Is is seasonal affective disorder?

I have been taking vitamin D, and making sure to get outside, but still…It’s honestly super difficult.

Anyways, that whine preamble was to start my ride week in a nutshell:

Fell off Oats on Sunday after my race when he spooked lightly at something.

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At least Oats has his best horse friend to play with every day!

Tried riding Tuesday because I was too stiff and sore Monday to ride. There was a windstorm on Tuesday with wind gusting up to 90km/hr. It was TERRIFYING. Thank god I was on Oats,  who allows me to do the dumbest things with him. I wouldn’t trust any other horse. Still, I was scared out of my mind and ended up riding for 15 very tense minutes and I jumped off and thanked god I was still alive. NOT doing that again. Just terrifying, 100% alone in the pitch black with hurricane winds. Nope…

Wed: Actually a good jump lesson. I was in a bad mood all week, and so wasn’t expecting greatness or anything. I thought Oats was going to feel stiff but he was moving out quite nicely! We worked on a gymnastic- my nemesis- to a small course with a skinny on a circle, and another skinny on a straight approach. Oats was a very good boy, and I quite enjoyed my ride!

Today: Planning on riding. It is -5 and feels like -9. To give context, it’s usually around 8 deg Celsius and rainy here in the winter. I am so sick of it.

If I fall, let me go

I’ve probably alluded to this in the past, but I do not have a super fantastic family relationship. I have had my fair share of emotional trauma courtesy of my family, and I love them despite this. It makes it hard to enjoy the holidays, and hard to spend time with them a lot, because of the bad shit that has gone down in the past.

I now must do a kindness, and it’s going to look like a lot of pain and hurt. But trust me, making someone very clear about who you are, and what you are doing is very kind:

Luxury goods are only consumed when we’ve got enough. You shouldn’t go shopping for a Birkin bag with your last dollar.

It’s easy to believe that kindness is like that. We need more reserves, perhaps, before we can expend some of what we’ve got in this generous way.

You’ve had a hard day, it’s raining out, the world is changing, your boss is mean to you, the checking account is overdrawn, you’re on deadline…

But… Does every need have to be filled, every emotion in place before we’re capable of being kind?

Do we have to have enough money, enough confidence about the future and enough of everything else we crave before we can find the space to offer someone else a hand?

It turns out that the opposite is true. That kindness is a foundation for the rest. That investing time and resources in extending ourselves shifts the rest of our needs in precisely the right direction, not only putting us closer to satisfying those other needs, but enjoying the journey as well.

Kindness rewards the giver as well.

Lately, I have been struggling again, chiefly because I feel disrespected as a woman, as an independent thinker, and that my entire ‘personhood’ is diminished and made powerless by them (my parents).

I hate it. I’m having a rough week dealing with this, and it 100% distracted me yesterday at work so I made some pretty big screwups. It also affected my riding lesson, as I was literally shaking with rage. Thankfully, because I have been working on managing my emotions in the saddle, all it meant was that I needed to do some mindless jump-jump-jump and nothing too technical. My coach understood what I needed, and I didn’t come out to my lesson with angst in my hands and a chip on my shoulder to take out on Oats. I’ve stopped that now.

It boils down to this- when someone says they do not want children, believe them.

Why push, force, coerce or judge? Why try and manipulate? Why go behind my back? What is the end goal here? Someone who has kids and hates them, is resentful of them, doesn’t want them. Why would that be a desired result? It’s not fair for anyone, least of all the child.

It’s not up for debate. It’s not up to YOU to choose for them. You can say what you want, ONCE, and leave it alone. And you can feel however you wish, I’m not here to stop anyone’s feelings.

I’m being pressured and threatened. I’m going to put a stop to it on Saturday, on a day I have deemed my personal rubicon. I wish I didn’t have to, confrontation is the least of what I like, but now it’s become perfectly clear- I must do this now, and fast, and get ahead of this issue. I have discussed this with my equine counselor, and we have worked on a simple strategy to manage this issue in a calm, firm manner. No apologies, no anger, no defensiveness.

They can’t pretend not to hear me, or ignore me outright, when I am in their face telling them it’s either this, or they lose a daughter too.