Putting the work in: CDRC dressage show recap!

I forgot that I was too busy to update on my  jump lesson (last Thursday) but it was a very good, solid and workmanlike lesson. Oats was stiff and sluggy for it when we were warming up, so I was reminded by my trainer to limit my expectations for the warm-up and deal with the horse I have, in the moment and on the day. So true! Fortunately he warmed up and was moving better after a slightly longer warm-up.

58784934_10161795809045191_8932787610602962944_n

All screenshots courtesy of Nicole G.

Dressage lesson was on Friday with Sam and it was very encouraging! One thing I wasn’t so sold on were re-visiting my canter loop F-X-M. We kept swapping in the past, and I felt very unsure about it. We worked on it, and nailed it! And then I promptly forgot how to ride the transition to trot at ‘x’ and then pick up the right lead…Yikes. These tests involve much more ‘riding’ than I am used to (I find the intro to dressage a lot more ‘sitting pretty’ which I and Oats are good at. The actual physical riding part? Not so good, and needs a lot more work).

59368430_10161795809130191_76868021833957376_n

Anyways the day of the show, the weather was horrendous. In Victoria I heard it was sunny, gale-force winds, hailing, and raining. Up at the show in Cowichan, it was 1 weather- tornadoes. Small dust devils were whipping up in the ring, and it was just chaos. I had sand in my teeth, hair, eyes, ears. Everywhere. It was just so awful and distracting. I wanted to leave!!!

But hey the show must go on?

We warmed up and Oats was feeling good, pretty jazzy considering how miserable the wind was. His left bend wasn’t very good though, and he was leaning heavily on my hands in the trot. His canter felt a tad rushy and unbalanced, but no worries, we could work on that…It was just hard to canter left, because you got a face-full of sand every time. I couldn’t really see where I was going. Poor horse too, yikes… And my friends came to watch! I felt awful for them, dealing with the insane sand and wind in their faces for hours. Troopers, all of them!!

58443739_10161795809200191_2734501262413266944_n

I was feeling good about putting front shoes on him early though. Score one for me!

We went in to the test and we had a good centreline halt, and then botched the  pattern (First Level Test 1 has a 10-metre turn to the centreline), where I left early and just sort of turned…at will. I honestly couldn’t see, so I think that had a bit part of it.

58543767_10161795809100191_8423442946434531328_n

The test rode pretty well, I was happy with Oats’ canter, his turns and some of the transitions were a bit sucky as I let my reins get way tooo long at the end.

We finished, and then prepared for my bigger challenge- First Level Test 3. Counter-canter loops, here we come!

58784918_10161795809255191_1172811712902987776_n

I am VERY pleased to say that we conquered the canter loops! I rode them too conservatively, making the too shallow, but I think that is an easy fix for sure (again I couldn’t see very well at all), and Oats tripped over part of the dressage court fencing (it was on the ground because it kept getting blown over!). Whoops!

I also flat-out forgot to ride my transition to ‘x’…yes even though I knew that was a tricky one that I had to ride more strongly. I tuned out for it, and Oats broke. Damn! 100% my fault though.

Otherwise, the test flowed nicely, I kept my reins (mostly) shorter and we did what we came to do- conquer those canter loops! 🙂 Yay! We wrapped up and I couldn’t wait to get the hell out. Good god, the wind. I don’t know what my scores are, but I’m happy with the efforts and with how saint-like Oats was while dealing with challenging weather conditions. What a star!

Face down in the gutter of your love

Wow, this week definitely got derailed. I caught this weird creeping sickness- notably from people on the airplane last week, I’m sure. After I crashed hard this weekend and had to nap instead of run (the horrors!!) I thought I’d licked it. A big NOPE on that front. I came in to work this week and felt distinctly blah and unwell, but shrugged it off because quite frankly the only indicator to me that something wasn’t right was constant light-headedness at the gym. And I can get through that.

Image result for windstorm vancouver island 2018 photos

Photo is from Global News. This is near my place! 

What I can’t get through? Coming in to work, sweating profusely and feeling light-headed sitting at my desk. Yep that was me yesterday. I was at work for 2 hours, felt just terrible…faint, dizzy, super weak and just like someone had pulled the plug on my body. It was burned out, spent, done. (I really like that saying, my colleague had similar symptoms and she described it that way).

I crept home, sweating and feeling awful.

I then spent the entire day in bed.

I never do that! I can’t even recall the last time I was forced back into bed?? It’s been years I think. I dozed on and off, feeling miserable. Read for awhile, napped, lay there staring at the ceiling. Couldn’t muster the energy to read my phone until about 2pm. Wowza. Gidget was in dog heaven though, her favourite: Daytime sleeping!!

I cancelled my riding lesson (thank god, because I was in no shape to do anything), and as it turns out, it was the right call anyways because there was a terrific windstorm and trees were blowing down right, left and centre! It was nuts!!

So, I guess all things happen for a reason, or at least they did yesterday.

Back at work, and a dentist appointment to greet me in the morning (lovely). My stomach is still funny, but I don’t feel this crushing exhaustion so that’s good! It helps I guess that I spent the entire day in bed yesterday.

Here is hoping this weird sickness goes away!!

Cross you off my list

After completing an arduous three-day week coming back from my holiday (exaggeration obviously), I actually wasn’t feeling well at all. I felt tired, weak, run-down and kind of unwell. This manifested in a Friday of feeling terrible, and a nap (the horrors!!) on Saturday. A nap instead of a run? Wha? In what world do I need to do this? Clearly, I did though.

48329459_10101041352853556_4123104536132845568_n

Tucker is not so sure about what happened this weekend…Crazy windstorm! 

Gidget loved it, she loves naps so much. We got a Christmas tree on Saturday morning before I left for the barn, and they only had 4-5 left, kind of all scrawny rejects, haha. Ours is short, but not scrawny. So, like half a tree? Weird they didn’t have any. I guess there was a Christmas tree shortage this year?

We left the tree to put it up officially on Sunday, and I took it easy with a nap and some baking in preparation for our riding stable’s annual Christmas holiday party. We had a lovely time! I ate wayyy too much good food and we did a gift exchange and I loved my gifts from my secret santa, they were fantastic! (Reese’s clusters, yummm, a new mystery novel that I had actually gotten from the library to read myself but hadn’t yet, and a very cute fox mug ‘For Fox Sake!’).

Oats got Friday off, and then was ridden by moi both Sat/Sun. And he was such a good boy! I feel so glad when I ride him, he’s my favourite. We worked on some flatwork/lateral work on Saturday, and Sunday I decided to do some strength work for me- two point intervals. Good, except that my foot kept slipping wildly out of my stirrup- something was wrong with the grip pad on it. Ugh. I checked the pad after and it looks like it has worn away and is now totally slick? Frick!! It’s actually kind of hazardous now, outright slippery and my foot slips straight out if I try to get leverage on my heels. Shit!

Oh well, Oats was a saint! The weather, not so much. It poured on and off allll day. I packed my run clothes though and out I went! It…kind of sucked. I got soaked. Oh well!

Home time, and we put up our tree and decorated it that evening 🙂

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!

IMG_0471

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!

Back to the grind

Yep, back at it (work, riding, running, normal life that doesn’t include sitting at a pool drinking wine)..sigh. And I am still really sick, coughing a lot with some intense sinus pain pretty much daily. Love it.

Monday I flew in and rode Oats pretty much immediately. It was a HOT day and it surprised the heck out of me! We still rode in the indoor because my trainer and friends were hard at work on the outdoor, fixing it up and setting a course. It looks fantastic!

18595514_10158714251215191_8364545552240311206_o

Outdoor 2017!! Summer here we come. Doesn’t it look divine?

Tuesday I didn’t have a lesson, and desperately wanted to check out the outdoor arena, but it was not to be- there was a sudden and fierce windstorm, with winds gusting from 70-90km/hr! I had a devil of a time walking home from work, and then I was walking Gidget and the wind was so awful it blew her dog poo bag right off her leash where it was tied. She was getting blown backwards! It was horrible!

Nevertheless, I trudged out to the barn, my car getting pelted with small tree debris, leaves and branches. Greeeat….

My ride was good, but the tack-up and grooming part was marred a bit by me getting annoyed by a fellow rider, who insisted on ‘claiming’ a cross tie that led to me having to move all of my grooming equipment and tack THREE times. Next time, I’m saying too bad so sad you move! Seriously! I was pissed, had a violent sinus headache and just wanted to ride, go to the pharmacy and crash at home.

Anyways, despite that, Oats was in a good mood even if I wasn’t! Good boy. We worked on posting at the canter over poles, and I let it help me find my distances (sort of worked) as poles are our hardest work. I find it much easier to find a distance to an actual jump.

A good ride, even though my horrible sinus pain still plagued me and I couldn’t WAIT to get to the pharmacy to get some sweet sweet cold medication (I actually finished an entire pack last week, ugh this cold is something horrible).

Last night Oats had off, and I went running and made dinner. Tonight- jump lesson in the outdoor!

Don’t make me read your mind: Weekend recap!

Man, I can’t believe it’s Monday already. I am in serious need of a longer weekend. 2 days off is just not cutting it anymore…

I had a fairly nice weekend, nothing too amazing happened but I enjoyed it nonetheless (just need more of it!). Ran a brief 5k on Friday in the rain to test how my new running shoes performed on wet surfaces- verdict: still slippery. Went out for drinks with a friend, and really enjoyed my cocktails!

bym7iaynyjwsurbwh8au

Saturday I got up and went riding first thing, and then after lunch and a bit of hanging around, drove out to the Galloping Goose and ran 15k. It went okay, I felt fine during it but started to get a bit antsy near the middle-to-end. Weather was nice, better than the washing machine I ran in on Friday!

Sunday, rode again and this time, rode indoors. On Saturday, I could definitely feel that tense-anxiety thing happening in the outdoors with Oats. He was behaving fine, but I was looking  out for trouble- and that isn’t a great combo for him. I need to not have these battles again. So, for my ride on Sunday I was very well aware that this was brewing within me.

I have NO desire to bring back my anxieties of the outdoor arena, and I know a very cold, very blustery and rainy day isn’t the right time to test myself or him. Indoors it is!

And I’m glad I went indoors, he was high as a kite! We went straight into very active trotting, to a big canter, to lots of canter, to still cantering, to keeping cantering, to my legs are so tired they are going to fall off cantering! The whole ride Oats was snorty and very active. He just wanted to go-go-go-go.

I can count the number of times Oats has this much energy on one hand- like, twice a year. I was like, ahhh this would have been a great day to jump. Oh well, it was a very strenuous and sweaty ride. I was freezing after though, so chilled. Right to the bone!

I grazed Oats for a bit and then zipped off home, to have lunch and then get changed to run 5k of hills- I do a specific pattern in my neighbourhood of 4 hills, twice. By the fourth hill, I head up for the 5th time and wow…Does it ever drag!

My legs were feeling a little beat up, but not too bad considering how terrible they feel if I try to do this on a weekday, after work. 100X harder. My legs feel like stone, and I am dragging them along. It’s just too hard after a workday.

And then I bought some interesting items at Winners- peanut butter flour (Tru-nut with cocoa) and some pretty decent Turkish Delight. I LOVE the peanut butter flour. SO good.