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!

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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!

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Working for/on the weekend?

Kind of a busy weekend, but more in terms of renos…We finally (with my father in law’s guidence and hands-on work) did the flooring in our spare bedroom. A year in the making! ha!

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Throwback to last Sunday- 4th place AG! Photo by Ken D’Ell.

It looks great but yeah, even doing flooring in 1 bedroom is a ton of work. Friday we dismantled the bedroom/moved everything out of it, Saturday my husband ripped up the old carpet and swept up the disintegrating carpet pad (yuck) and pulled out the staples.

Sunday my father in law came and they ripped up the baseboards, and laid the new flooring. It is a BIG job and took them close to ..9 hours? I of course did my part by disappearing for most of the day 😉

But in all fairness, I helped move stuff, toss out old carpet and then get Gidget out of the house because she freaks out when we work on the house. I also brought lunch, ha. We also went to go see the new movie ‘The Shape of Water’ in theatres now. It was really good!

So, yeah busy but I still managed to ride Oats (on Saturday we worked over x-rails and I jumped with one hand! FUN to practice!) and on Sunday I worked on centrelines (boooooring but important, very quiet).

Ran both days and the weather was HORRENDOUS. So what would you prefer: A) Running a longer distance (lets’s say 10-15k) in wind gusting up to 90 km/hr? I almost got knocked over by the wind, and lost my balance a few times/felt like I was physically running backwards…

Or Option B) Run hills in the pouring rain, raining so hard you have to wring out your socks after? Cuz that’s that my Sunday was like! YAY…. Not. Oh well at least I had the time and opportunity to do both I guess?

And it is pouring so hard today. Bring on the Ark!

Everyone else is doing it, so why can’t we?

Still feeling a tad put-out and grouchy about other situations, but I didn’t have time to linger/dwell on that too much as I had a TRACK RACE last night to focus on!! The series we do is called the Christie-Phoenix Victoria Run Series and they offer four track races for elites and community-level ‘all comers’ for me, the slow poke!

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Battling the wind! 3,000m and 800m last night.

That’s right, back on track!

It was insanely windy, so much so that when I stepped out of my office building a gust of wind blew my sunglasses off my face and my earbuds out of my ears. WTF? It was horrible. I called my husband to pick me up, because I didn’t want to be literally fighting my way home for 40++ minutes (gag) getting blown around.

So yeah, the track meet…

Was insanely windy. It was ok on the long side, but coming up to the finish line and around the corner from the finish was so bad, it felt like I was running in slo-mo. The wind threatened to blow my hat off, etc.

My times sucked! I ran the 800m and the 3,000m (was planning on doing the 1,500m but showed up too late and came as they were running it! Whoops!) and my 3,000m was over a minute slower that what I ran last year, hahahaha.

I enjoyed running the 800m as much as one can enjoy a good lung-bursting run, and in the 3,000m was dismayed to see my times stalling and dropping. Apparently, me, a girl who has run a descent 10k in the 4:30s now cannot even sustain that for 3k? WHAT IS GOING ON?

Anyways, my decent into pure mediocrity continues (yes, I know that thing about feeling sorry oneself, hahaha) but I enjoyed my track efforts last night, and I am looking forward to challenging the track again next week! The only thing I can really do without is the incessant and really heinous sounding coughing I get after racing. I cough and cough this awful chest-rattling cough alllllll night after running.

And it’s confirmed that I do not have asthma, so what gives?

Can’t get enough of myself

Dressage semi-private on Tuesday, and my willpower/enthusiasm was greatly waning. I had a really bad stomach ache with stabbing pains at work, and it didn’t go away all night. I just wasn’t feeling great, at all.

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Also, Oats’ friend moved away on Tuesday. I bet he misses him!

It got cold here again, after a blissful period of 9-10 degrees it plummeted back down to -1 or so. GOD.

Despite my stomach trouble, I was able to mostly ride it out. I only lurched sickeningly a few times at the canter and our ride was actually pretty good though- Oats was amenable to most of my suggestions, and we worked on transitions: walk/quick steps/trot/medium trot/canter. All while asking the horses to ‘stretch’ and reach down while still engaging their back. We did get some nice steps in the trot/quick steps, but in the canter it mostly turned into Oats flying around with his head down instead of being, well, engaged.

Oh well, at least he was trying! His attitude has been quite good about dressage so maybe we have turned a corner with less hissy-fits in our future. One can hope!

As I rode Oats 4 x days in a row, I took yesterday off and went for a jog instead. I am glad I did it, but my face was frozen after and it kiiiind of felt like a mistake, as it was BLASTING wind and absolutely freezing. My legs felt like blocks of concrete. My foot started hurting again (oh joy) and I was kind of feeling grouchy about how slowly I am running right now.

I do not have high hopes or expectations for my upcoming race- the weather is supposed to be incredibly shitty AGAIN (every race this season has had just terrible weather) freezing, raining/snowing. Lovely.

And in case you can’t remember, here is a recap of what the weather was like at each race:

  • Prairie Inn Harriers 8k: Freezing cold, with a blizzard starting once the race ended
  • MEC Rust Buster 10k: Freezing, about 0 deg the entire race.
  • Cobble Hill 10k: Cold, pouring rain the entire race.
  • Sooke 10k: My prediction? Everything at once! Freezing cold, rain mixed with snow, wind? We shall see 🙂

And to top it off, I burned my hand last night, and jacked up my wrist somehow (still not sure how?). Add that to my ever-present chronic and horrible allergies, and my bum foot, and I feel like a falling-apart robot right now! At least I am sleeping pretty well?? Love that.

Jump lesson tonight, and I hope it’s not completely freezing. Though, it will be.

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.

Accidentally poisoned?!

Yeah, so that happened. On Monday, I went out to ride and when I was walking around the barn, I smelled this really bad, chemical smell. Hard to explain, but it was kind of like burning metal mixed with a meth house? I’d never smelled it before.

A few of the girls were around and I was going to ask them if they smelled it, but it kind of wafted away and I forgot…Until a TERRIBLE headache slammed me. Like, unreal bad. I thought I was going to puke. It started so suddenly in the back of my neck that I thought I had tweaked something in my neck, and then moved up through my neck to my sinuses, which were throbbing really painfully. God, it was so bad.

I didn’t connect the dots though, that bad smell= chemical poisoning.

I grabbed two Advil, and went to ride Oats. He was being super great considering I had this awful headache, and by that time my nose and eyes started gushing…I warmed him up, we hopped over the x-rails set up in the ring, and then I just jumped off. I couldn’t handle it anymore, and the awful headache wasn’t lifting.

I was kind of starting to stagger a bit and was having trouble focusing. Things were not good.

I put Oats away and made it back to my car, and then home. Once home, I went straight to bed and lay down. I told my husband that I was NOT feeling well, and took 4 more Advil for some, if any, relief. It was soooooo bizarre?! The Advil did the trick by an hour or so, and I was able to be normal again, but still…WTF?

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Why can’t we do this instead? Photo courtesy of Nicole Gibby.

The next day, I even had the remnants of a rebound headache from whatever poisoned me the day before, but thankfully it was easily remedied by like, 1 Tylenol, not 6 of them. Jesus! So, I called the barn owner and left a strange and cryptic voicemail saying there was this weird smell, that made me really sick, that I wanted her to be aware of. It was really windy that day, and what if it happened again- if a neighbour was burning something really toxic and the fumes carried?

Anyways, I went to my dressage lesson with some trepidation yesterday. Poisoning, a rebound headache, returning to the scene…What was going to happen now?

Happily- nothing!

I had a tough but reasonably responsive dressage lesson with Karen in the indoor. It was cold again and pretty windy, so I didn’t feel like riding outside. We worked on some pretty intense walk work (which Oats and I struggled with), and then walk-canter work (again that we really struggled with), and on to some pretty decent trot.

All in all, a good night. But man, what a way to start the week eh???

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!

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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.