VIRA Race Recap: Comox Half Marathon!

So yeah, this blog right now is just for race recaps apparently. I have a good reason for it- I have been under an insane amount of pressure at work, and starting to crack. I haven’t had any time/inclination to blog because the only things I’d write are about how unhappy I am, and how miserable things are.

So…Please consider that warning for the next, oh, three weeks. Things are not great in my world in one particular area, and it’s killing my motivation, desire and will to live. OH well. This is also time sensitive so hopefully in three weeks I can be happier.

Comox

Me and a Bastion Run Club guy. Incidentally, the photo is also by Bastion Run Club! 🙂

Without further ado…the big race!!!

It was a GLORIOUS day to race. Sunny skies, not too cold, not windy, not raining?!! A lovely day all around. I was so happy to just be out, doing my thing. The volunteers at this race are fantastic- so cheery and fun, and encouraging. I just love them 🙂

I had a pretty significant head cold the entire week leading up the race. I was exhausted, coughing, sinus pain & pressure, ear pressure/pain that kept me from work on Friday even? And just feeling super shitty and blah. Spent most of the weekend either laying on the couch or sleeping. So sick+overwhelmed at work= success?!!

Something like that at least! I swear I wasn’t the only one blowing my nose at the start on the race.

I didn’t really have high hopes for the race. I wanted to complete it, chiefly because you have to race the half marathon to be eligible for series awards at the end of the season. Other than that, I was kind of just hoping to not collapse or something.

Off we went, and I started very conservatively. Very. Like, 4:49 conservatively, ha. And it felt hard…I kind of felt like dying for oh, the first 9km. It doesn’t help that the course is an out-and-back, and the out part is a lot of uphills. Still, I stayed present and kept an eye on people. I wasn’t ready to make any moves yet, but I could see some people who were foolishly tearing out before the 5km marker–I knew they wouldn’t last. It’s a looooong race, guys.

I grabbed electrolyte drink at 7km (bizarrely it was clear) and focused on making it up the hills between 7-9km. It was kind of horrible.

I started making my move after 11km. Then, we were flying downhill and I was feeling ok- not great, but that I could actually do this. Run a competent, solid race. I was making it happen! Fortunately or unfortunately for me, every time I tried to pick up the pace I couldn’t breathe, so it forced me to maintain a very manageable pace instead of flying and dying like I kind of wanted to…

At 18km, I felt like staggering. I couldn’t believe there was so much left. My legs were done! I felt sorry for myself until I passed the runner ahead of me. WHa?

Why is she letting this happen? Letting me pass her at 18? Suddenly I could run again, I was doing ok and making it!!! WOW! I never have that feeling this late in the game.

I cruised up to the finish line with a blistering (ha) 5:00km pace – ok, it felt fast anyways.

And I didn’t even feel that bad! WOAH!

We had the best food after too- chili, with buns and cheese 🙂 YUM!!! Oh and my husband finished with a crazy fast time- he got 1:34, while I got 1:44. I was very pleased with my time too, as this is now my personal best for the half marathon. I have a feeling that I can do better now.

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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.

I give up

“It’s no use to go back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland)

So yeah, another whiny post in a long stream of whiny posts. I am losing the plot, horse-wise, and I can’t seem to get it back.

I fell off 3 times in 7 days. The horse show was a disaster, Oats warmed up really nicely, and then immediately wouldn’t play in the ring. He was distracted and stopped repeatedly, and I fell into an oxer- making that my third fall.

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A bad jumper show.

I had a lesson last night that had many opportunities for me to fall off – with Oats ungenerously slamming on the brakes repeatedly- about five times. I didn’t fall though, so I can consider that a success?

Now, my horse is a stopper. Lovely.

I’m bummed, frustrated, mad at myself and at Oats, and hurt. I don’t trust him to jump now, and I don’t trust myself.

How did this backslide happen so suddenly??? How do I get ‘me’ and Oats back?

I honestly felt like crying after my lesson. I just can’t seem to get a break. I haven’t really felt like blogging, mostly because I’m so unhappy with how things are right now. How hard do I have to work at this? I’m not jumping high, the jumps I’ve been falling off at are the lowest ones I’ve been jumping recently. So WTF?

I’m just so confused and upset.

My show schedule as of now is kaput. I don’t feel like even trying right now.

Your family loves you when you cross the finish line regardless. But they love you a little more when you win.

Saw this and kind of made me laugh- is it true? Well…Maybe in your heart of hearts, it is.

I had a weirdly challenging week. Things made me laugh and cry, on the same day. It was both not stressful and incredibly stressful (ie- job was fine, personal life wasn’t.) Not normally the way things go.

Wednesday, I chatted with one of the gym regulars, a guy I see pretty much every day at my work gym and he mentioned to his colleague that he didn’t know my name, but that he called me Super Girl in his mind, because I worked so hard at the gym, and he thought that I looked like the actress on the Global TV show ‘Supergirl’ Melissa Benoist. I was very flattered and it pretty much made my day! Wow! What an nice compliment.

On the same day (Wed) I took off riding for a doctor’s appointment that was HORRIBLE and so invasive, physically painful and emotionally extremely difficult. UGH. Even thinking about it makes me cringe and get mad.

Cue stress eating all night when I got home. Instead of a run.

So…yeah. Monday I get poisoned, Tuesday is a good day, Wednesday is both good and horrible at the same time, what was in store for my jump lesson on Thursday?

Well, again a mixed bag.

Work was fine, except I learned they were re-doing Watership Down so I of course had to revisit that and I found it super emotional? I’m not sure why, but even reading references to it (and listening to ‘Bright Eyes’) was making me tear up.

And then, the drive out to the barn was a nightmare. Traffic was backed up, I was stuck in gridlock for 50 minutes. It was insane! I got to the barn at 6:20 and my lesson was at 6:30. FML. I was so tense, anxious, angry, pissed off, edgy…It was a very bad way to start my lesson. I came in wanting a ‘win’…My miserable experience at the Dr’s was still very much in the forefront of my mind, and like, I was just feeling so edgy.

Didn’t help that I was now running very late, it was crazy windy, and I was just…aRGH. So ARGH.

Oats warmed up really nicely, no spooks at all thank god. We worked over grids (and I still kind of dislike them, I almost ate it at the last fence due to jumping ahead…you can’t take grids for granted still, dummy!!).

Our work was good, but the two-stride last week that I mostly conquered I really…didn’t this week. It was kind of a hot mess. And then it was good. And then kind of a mess again?

One note of pride: Our outside line that I kept bungling last week rode just lovely this week! So…Mild improvement on that scale?

HA.

I also felt something interesting: Oats kicking it in to a higher gear. It felt so awesome, this power that he suddenly was able to open up with. Wow, I wish I could get that feeling every time!

So, to sum up- I came in on an angry, anxious and difficult personal time this week- and managed to not completely screw up my ride, with my  mostly forgiving and saint-like pony.

 

Stay gone

So, after my spectacularly grouchy rage-flounce on Friday, how did the weekend go?

Well, fine I guess.

I spent Friday in a determined angry funk. Saturday was ok, nothing amazing happened and all of the events that got cancelled on Friday stayed cancelled, so I didn’t really do too much anyways.

I did go on a short run with my husband in the late afternoon Saturday- we did some hill work, which was pretty good, cold but good. Oats was fun to ride, though my shin took a beating when we misjudged a turn and took out a jump with my leg…Ouch! Have a bruise on there now, hahah.

Some light jumping, nothing too fancy, also some no-stirrup work which has me feeling pretty righteous actually!

Missing tail!

Missing tail!

Sunday- I came to the barn and to my ultimate dismay…Oats IS MISSING half his tail??!! ARGH. His neighbour horse-friend, Jim, is eating his freaking tail. ARGHHHHHHHH. It looks so goofy now. I talked it over with Jim’s owner and we will be addressing this with fencing when she has the $$ to put into more fencing. In the meantime…She braided his tail to keep it away from hungry hungry Jim, and I had my friend Emma braid it last night when I saw it had come loose again. Maybe move to keep it in a tail bag next? SIGH.

Close up of tail.

Close up of tail.

Oats also got a bit of jump torture on Sunday as well. I had a wild desire to jump the mounting block, so I set it up like a big arrow, and jumped him both ways–with the arrow, and against the arrow-head. He was quite amenable to jumping it with the arrow, but against it? WELL. He was very perplexed! He wiggled, wobbled, stopped. Was quite sure that this was wrong! This is not a jump!

Jump the mounting block? Sure!

Jump the mounting block? Sure!

I coaxed him over the arrow-head at a trot twice, and let him canter it in the direction he was most comfortable with–I wanted to leave it on a good note for a good pony. He did try hard, even though he was very confused with what I was asking him, haha.

Um, no.

Um, no.

Last night I had another session with my equine counselor, and we confirmed that I am on the right track. She said I’m at maybe 50% right now, and with time will gain my confidence back, slowly. I am developing a level of body awareness that feels really cool though, and I’m giving myself chances to make the right choice for me. Sometimes that means bowing out of jumping the course a second time, or maybe I do it, but I acknowledge how it makes me feel.

More and more, I feel like I can make things happen when I am riding, I have agency. They do not just ‘happen’ to me anymore. The great distances I’ve been getting? Making that happen by allowing Oats to move forward more freely. Basically, managing will be the name of the game and I will have to work on maintenance with this issue.

I love it, weirdly. I am creating my reality, rather than letting it steamroll over me as a victim.

Ego-crushing

Man, I’m really on a roll this summer eh?

Not so much.

I’m feeling fried, burned out, pissed off, frustrated, oh any other acronyms you can add to say unhappy? I’m not even really sure where this came from…My life is generally fine, no real ‘anything’ to be unhappy about.

And yet- in a cascade of doubt- lately I’m feeling piled-upon.

First of all, the horse. I had a MASSIVELY EGO CRUSHING and difficult lesson yesterday. It was HARD. Emotionally hard, unpleasant, challenging and I was almost in tears before it because of the way Oats has been acting, and I was DEFINITELY in tears at the end of it. WHy why why why why….I just felt like he’s been challenging me in subtle ways for weeks now, and it definitely came to a head yesterday. And I can’t find my way out of it again (will I?). We got through it but man, it was so hard. Every time I thought I’d ‘won’ ie- gained his acceptance of coming through the right rein, BLAM! Nope! Fighting allllll over again. And repeat. And repeat. We did get it in the end, but I was soo fried.

This, comes hot off the heels of another board raise notice.

Kind of double-whammied me into thinking why the everloving hell am I bothering? I pay the equivalent of an effing second mortgage for this stupid horse, who, I am not even showing this year and DEFINITELY not enjoying riding at this point?

So what is the point?

Board, lessons twice a week, anxiety counseling once a week, grain, shoes ($$$!), extra training lessons for Oats with my friend, all add up to….?? THIS? I haven’t had a fun or good ride since my last jumping lesson. WTF?

Yeah, so…

Work is like a grist mill and I feel like sometimes I’m in danger of falling in and getting ground up! I like what I do, but I’m feeling burned out.

My family (parental units) and a never-ending source of stress and I avoid them because I’m worried about how sad they will make me.

So…I’m tired. Of everything. Of everyone.

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.