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.

 

Miniature Tigers

This week…Wow, this week.

Busy. Rode Tuesday, not in a dressage lesson, and was thinking I probably should have left what I was asking Oats for IN a dressage lesson, it went that poorly. Well at first it went well, and then I had to go and push the envelope and was a bit unprepared for him to over-give and then get pissy with me about it! Ah…it’s a learning experience I guess?! Note to self: When he gives you good lateral work for awhile, don’t push it on your own yet!

So, yeah. That. My dad also flew in from Ontario that evening at 11:30pm!

Wednesday we had the Foxstone Awards Night banquet at the Quamichan Inn. I’d volunteered to drive, and wow…Was kind of regretting the whole night driving. It was SO stormy, and crazy dangerous on the roads. POURING rain, the car was hydroplaning on the Malahat, visibility was so poor, and we saw two accidents, and like 5 cars pulled over…Jesus.

I drove extremely carefully and white-knuckled it the whole way. Glad to be alive.

The banquet was fine, I was still feeling a bit put-out by dropping down from reserve champ to third 😦 it is quite a demotion. Ahhhh….

I got all of us home safely, thank god, and had a glass of wine sitting on my couch at home. It was a very hairy experience.

Thursday, I had my jump night lesson! I had promised my dad I’d try to get home early (so, before 8pm), a message that somehow didn’t translate to them letting me know where they were going to be in the evening, so when I got home to an empty house, hungry, I had NO idea where they were, and nobody was answering their cell phones, despite multiple texts and calls. Needless to say, I was pissed off and hungry!

We sorted it out and I joined them for one drink and some live music at the Fernwood Inn, and it was really good-surprisingly! I normally am not a fan of a lot of ‘open mic’ nights because they tend to..suck sometimes…but these guys were spot-on!

And my jump lesson went well, Oats was hard to get motivated though and we are experiencing some real frustrations in terms of landing ON THE RIGHT LEAD GODDAMMIT~ Even on a circle? What is this, horse??!

But he’s a cheery fellow, and didn’t take it too hard. Ha, things to work on…Along with me using the crop even more judiciously to get him motivated. Well, to give him credit, he jumped an interesting looking jump without even a second glance. Good pony! Now, land on the right lead for once and I will be even happier with you!

 

A jumping weekend, with wild weather!

I didn’t ride Friday, though I was slightly tempted as I got off work earlier due to my changed schedule for the two days- had a nap instead! Guess I wasn’t that tempted.

From BC Day- wish this weather could last forever!

From BC Day- wish this weather could last forever!

Saturday the weather changed for the worse- blasting wind, threatening rain and generally unsettled. The trickiest part was that it was also sunny and warm, and then a huge gust of wind?

I tacked Oats up in the outdoor cross-ties and a big gust came up and blew a ton of saddle pads into the air! He spooked and I went to go pick the saddle pads up that were strewn everywhere, and while I was reaching to grab them, slipped and banged into the fence.

To add insult to injury, I went to grab the railing to stop myself from falling smack into the fence and immediately got a splinter from a thorn on the blackberry bushes. SHIT! And it is STILL jammed into my finger, after a failed attempt by my husband to needle that sucker out of there…I was howling and shrieking, so I slapped a band-aid on it and continued on my way. Ouch, not worth it!~

Not an auspicious start to my ride…

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When I was riding, Oats was high high high! Very frisky and looky, spooky and on-edge. The man who has been cleaning up the paddocks with the backhoe stopped by to ask a few questions (very friendly) with his dog, and Oats was kind of losing it! The dog! The man! Wind!!!!!!!

So …yeah.

My goal became clear- live through the ride.

We actually had a pretty nice ride once I gave up the idea that we had to deal with his scary areas ”the corner” being one we just flat out avoided on Saturday. Schooled him over some jumps I set as low x-rails, and then did a figure-eight type pattern of x-rail, to road closed panel, to diagonal x-rail, back to the first x-rail to ‘road closed’. That was fun!

Ended it at that, as I didn’t want to end up on the ground…

And of course, when I had Oats back in the cross-rails, another saddle pad went flying and he spooked again. SIGH.

Turns out it was well and good I rode early, as the wind only got worse as the day went on. When I came in for my ride on Sunday, I had to pick up tree branches and the barn shutter that went flying in the windstorm. I could only picture a house being picked up with ‘Auntie Em’ echoing in the background!

Rode in the indoor on Sunday and felt kind of not enthusiastic. I wanted to gallop in the field, but figured that was off limits due to the rain…Blah. We worked over a tiny x-rail to establish pace and nailed our distances to it everytime! This is after I trotted him over it and he fell over it twice- fell! So, canter it was, and canter it went!

I then did some no-stirrups work that felt ok but still fairly punishing…

Wanted to save my legs for a run I had planned later in the day. The run itself went ok but I was SO PARANOID about my knee blowing up on me. I couldn’t really enjoy it as much as I wanted to, I didn’t have that ‘free’ feeling at all. Gah…At the turnaround I was so sure this was it, I couldn’t run anymore. But then we did turn around, and I was ok again?

Today my legs feel fine though, so….

Fingers crossed?!

More BC day

More BC day

Also of note- I tried Krema’s Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Spice flavour and loved it!

Also tried the new Strawberry Shortcake Frapp from Starbucks- and blah. Wouldn’t have it again. They don’t serve the S’mores flavour, which I am SO bummed about. ARGH.

Oh and we went to the Island’s Greek festival after Starbucks and our run, and enjoyed a nice gyros platter. Yummmy!