Once upon a hell of a time: MEC race #3 The Pace Setter recap

Even writing this, a day or so later, makes me cringe. Jesus, what WAS I THINKING? Let’s put it this way- sometimes race times don’t tell the whole story. This race was 2:10, my personal worst time, and boy, the worst race I have ever foolishly attempted.

Clearly, my ego has more stamina than my body.

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Background of the race- Hatley Castle. Photos by MEC.

As I mentioned earlier, I made the (stupid and ill-advised) decision to run the half marathon the day after the Sooke Saddle Club, in the heat (hot for here, 28 degrees) with a raging head cold and exercised-induced asthma. I know enough that I just knew this was a bad idea, a really bad one.

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Three friends walking to the race. Photo by MEC.

I was joking around with my husband safely ensconced on our patio the night before with a glass or three of wine that my goal was to just NOT DIE. Newsflash- so I am a fortune teller, because that’s the way I spent the entire race feeling: close to death.

I also drank more wine to chase away my fears that what I was doing was dangerous and stupid and yeah….What could it hurt at this point? (Jury’s still out on that but I still like wine, so). Anyways, I was pretty beat after the horse show. I was jumping off Oats to blow my nose furiously, and overnight had developed quite the hacking gross cough that kept me up pretty much all night too. Lovely.

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Fueling with a gel. I should have known how bad it was going to be…Photo by MEC.

The morning of the race felt warm. Stomach-wise, I was feeling pretty good which should have been a warning sign of impending doom. I drank a bit of water, had some coffee, and met up with a friend running the 5k. I joined in with the warm-up routine and found my legs felt, well…like lead. I had a few twinges of fear but pushed that away, telling myself that it’s always like that and then I settle really well. Um, no.

We were off, and I felt ok for oh..1km? By 3km I was in trouble, and a lot of it. My legs were on FIRE, burning so badly with lactic acid I was wondering WTF was going on with them. I’m used to running pretty regularly??

This is a spectacularly hilly race, it starts off uphill, levels out a bit, and then has uphills on and off until one loooong downhill, to a really long flat section right along the ocean (so picturesque! I wanted to die!!) and then a steep and long climb back to the start, where you do it all over again.

I knew after my trouble at 3k that I was going to suffer, and suffer mightily. By 5k, I was really worried. Even after the downhill, I was telling myself I was walking up the big hill. No worries on that though, because by 8k I was struggling. My asthma started flaring up, I coughed phlegm basically all over myself and was gasping and dramatically clutching my chest.

Yay.

I walked/staggered/jogged my way miserably up the hill, thinking “just make it to 10km” and the miracle of miracles, I did. So, I just…sort of…kept going? At that point, I was fairly sure I was going to collapse. I have fainted this year so I know the warning signs, I just wasn’t sure if it was going to be near a MEC volunteer or not…

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So glad to be done. Photo by MEC.

Stupidly, I struggled on. I couldn’t run at that point- my legs weren’t responding, I was incredibly thirsty and every time I tried to attempt a run up something that wasn’t flat, my lungs were gripped in a clenched fist. So, I did what any dumbass runner who feels like giving up is impossible did- ran/walked the entire rest of the 2nd loop. And boy, did that take FOREVER. Enough time to want to cry anytime I saw a MEC volunteer.

I was in a real hell of my own making, and spending a lot of time in it, too. I couldn’t even run 1km, it was more like 100m of weak jogging, walk for awhile, and then try it all over again. Hell is also hot and doesn’t have enough Gatorade stops.

Surprisingly, I made it to the finish where I dramatically got my puffer from my husband, and felt like crying again. I was SO. BEAT. I wanted to crawl away and lick my wounds in private and pretty much never run, or at least race, ever again. EVER.

I was salty with sweat. I could feel it coating my face, my arms, my chest and my hat. We went home and I showered and slept for 2 hours. No race, ever, had bested me this badly before.

I sat on the patio, drank wine and contemplated my life choices for the rest of the day.

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I guess I was overdue?

For a truly shitty ride? UGH! Last night I probably shouldn’t have ridden- there were a few omens on my way out, like a man popping out in front of my car and me not seeing him until the last minute (it’s so dark out at 4pm now, it’s crazy), a car deciding to turn left into my car- I slammed on the brakes and horn at the last second and avoided an accident…

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Me this whole freaking week.

It was cold but Oats warmed up much fresher than Wednesday. I had his cooler on, and it took flight immediately off his back in…2 seconds? I didn’t even notice it was gone it flew off so fast! I had to go look for it after our ride, as it was pitch black out and the cooler is…also black.

Our ride started off promising- some nice canter work, moving better, still some stiff-headed resistance at the trot, but moving out. We worked over some poles and I noticed he wasn’t wanting to bend either direction, and wasn’t moving out off my leg very well, preferring instead to rush and speed off instead, so I slowed it down and started asking from the walk, for head-to-the-wall leg-yields.

He did his typical ‘ok this is fine fine fine fine and…NOT FINE’ hissyfit moments. Oats is like a horse at the mall- you put your quarter in, and you get only SO much time. After that? Your quarter is up, and STOP ASKING ME. So, yeah. It was fairly ugly and annoying. We worked through it on the left side, and one part of me reallllly didn’t want to repeat that struggle of wills on the right side, but anything you do on one side..YEah, I was in for a fun time.

Off the right, he moved over so fast. So fast. Like a butterfly! Zipping over…Until he started in with his big-time hissyfit moments, and he would NOT LET IT GO. I rode for what felt like hours, just trying to get him= sideways. He ran backwards, he gnashed his teeth, he threatened to rear, he pawed the air, he banged his head on the wall (multiple times?!!), he fussed, he fought, he complained, he yanked on the reins, he ran forward, backwards, he hopped up and down. UGHHHHH.

It was so horrible. And I was getting mad, too. Lose- lose.

I finally settled with letting him go forward, and then forcing his head over to the right using impulsion, and then pushing as hard as I could with my right leg. Sort of sideways? Done, reward him with letting him go forward again. Then repeat. Then repeat, and reward.

YEEEEESH. I have no idea what prompted his level of rudeness, but jesus he hasn’t been that miserable in about a year of lateral work. I have a real feeling he thought he was off the hook for ‘homework’ and took major offense to having to do it, after some fun times of cruising around over fences and poles.

Anyways, it sucked so hard. Let’s just take some brain-bleach and forget that shitty little episode…

A review I wish I didn’t have to do: Don’t go to the Hudson’s Bay Glamour Event, ever.

I’ve been busy attending a few events lately- as I mentioned, I went to the Hillside Night of Lights and found it fine, however too busy to really enjoy. I don’t love shopping with a huge crowd, and the appetizer system was lacking- but as I am learning, at least it was there? Wish I didn’t have to say that!

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From the Hudson’s Bay event- world’s shittiest ‘glamour’ event.

My mom and I went to the Hudson’s Bay Glamour Night last night and I was really looking forward to it- it was going to be everything that the Hillside Night of Light wasn’t! Samples, some good snacks, checking things out, new styles, everything!

Except…It wasn’t.

It was so shitty, I am still laughing about it today. Dear god.

Here is the write up I posted to Facebook this morning- I don’t usually do bad reviews, and if it’s a free event then I figure, what the heck eh? But this is different. VERY different.

It was hilariously bad. A cold chocolate fountain, 1 desperate server with one tray of the hardest crostinis I have ever cracked a tooth on, and a thimble of Prosecco to try, and every part of the sham event was ‘Pay $50-$150 at Chanel/Lancome/Clinique etc- and try this service’??? No real samples or opportunities to try things out.

Oh and the lamest swag bag I have ever seen- a Y.A.M magazine (free everywhere), a bottle of Kirkland water, 1 Lindt chocolate ball, a few free perfume samples, and a $50 card to Academy Dental in Eagle Creek??

Much Glamour. So Fancy.

Does anyone want the Eagle Creek dental card? It’s yours!

I’m serious about the Eagle Creek dental card. You want it, it’s yours!

My mom and I got bored after 30 minutes of doing nothing, no food, no real ‘drinks’ to sample other than the tiny thimble, and went and let the front desk ladies know exactly what we thought of the ‘gala’ event. I know it’s not their responsibility- but they did refund us our money, which was nice. A girl behind us got her money back too!

I didn’t want my money back though, I wanted to have a nice time with my mom. Sigh…

The night wasn’t a total bust though, my parents are becoming crabbers so my mom brought two crabs for me to eat- and since I had the whole night, I steamed them and ate them with a salad. YUM!!!!!

Still, not worth missing a riding lesson for. Jesus.

Oh and on Monday Oats and I worked on counter-canter and he was really good for it. I was quite impressed- we are focused on the ‘try’ rather than how long I can keep it for, and he was picking it up fairly consistently. Good pony 🙂

And Oats gives me a heart attack

Got out to the barn last night and I was feeling pretty tired and unmotivated, I guess that’s what riding after my dressage lesson on Tuesdays gives me…But I’m not having my jump lesson tonight (other plans) and I have after-work plans on Friday night, so my jump lesson got moved to Saturday, so I haaaad to ride.

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Yeah, right.

I guess Oats was feeling the exact same way, because when I got to the barn, I went to get Oats out of his shelter and he was LAYING IN HIS HAY MOANING>?!! And kind of biting at his belly???

Dear god. The only thing running through my mind was colic!

I got his halter on, tugged him up, and surveyed his shelter. Good poops, lots of hay, he ate his dinner. So what is going on? He walked fine next to me, slowly (he is an incredibly slow walker). Nibbled at grass. Gut sounds fine, gurgly, not deadly silent.

So, wtf?

He seemed fine, by all accounts? I panic-texted my friend Sarah, who assured me that if he was pooping, gurgling and nibbling at grass he was probably fine. And you know…He was.

I tacked him up, rode him around for a bit. He was good, but quite lethargic/tired (so was I, so I can’t blame him). My riding was pretty much terrible, and it’s only due to him being an absolute saint that he didn’t dump me off at an x-rail…Ha.

He even pooped during the ride and I inspected it closely, and it was good. (yeah I know, good poops. Who am I??).

My guess…Tired. He’s actually done this once before- last year I came upon him in his shed, laying in his hay, groaning. I almost had a heart attack then too! And he was even harder to pull to his feet?! But he was fine, acting normally, but very tired and sleepy.

Maybe this is his once-a-year weirdness? Anyways, it always scares the bejeezus out of me.

My other trainer thought it might be a fart. Hahaha.

I’m just glad he was fine, and that this pretty much only happens once a year. I don’t know what I would do without my little pony buddy!

He ate a licorice candy, and this time he was super not impressed with it. He ate it because there was nothing else, but kept sniffing at my hands and mumbling them with his lips to see if what I had in my hand was tastier!

 

What we know now

So, I took a step back this weekend and just sort of mucked around on Oats, didn’t canter and didn’t push for the canter- obviously, because I’m a big chicken who is afraid of getting smashed into the ground when I ride alone…

And I wanted to kind of see how his chiropractic appointment played out- not gonna lie, I was pinning some of my hopes that this was what was causing his absolute shit-ass behaviour.

So the appointment was today, I gave him yesterday off (I don’t normally ride Mondays, he and I both need time off) and what was the verdict?

Not really sore anywhere and nothing extensive to work on.

WTF?

So….

His absolute, shitty, horrible nasty behaviour is…Not pain related? Or at least, not his back?

What gives? Ugh. Now this leads me to think of 1 thing- this is definitely attitude related and now I have to, *shudder* work through it? UGHHHHH. NOO.

Seriously, I am ready to kill him.

Or at least, subject him to a serious ass-kicking, Karen Brain style. That’s right, I wrote my lesson friend and said I was cancelling my lesson this Tuesday because I wasn’t sure how things were going to go with Oats and chiro, and I didn’t want to push him too hard if it was pain-related (I’m not a terrible person, you know!!). But now, this changes everything. EFF THIS.

I pay WAY TOO MUCH to deal with getting my chain yanked around by a bratty, rodeo punk.

So, I’m going to suit up, and just see what she recommends given I have done at least some of my due diligence. I’m just having flashbacks of last weeks’ lesson, and how it ended in my crying my freaking eyes out and feeling miserable…Well, I just hope that I can keep a positive mindset and work through this issue.

So I figure I will bring him down, and bring a longe line too. Just in case.

ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH this is NOT better though.