Monday – Hit the gym and did 6km in just under 34 minutes. Notice I have literally no clean clothes for work or the gym, I pass on the barn and get the house in order. Did I mention that temperatures are dropping again?
Wednesday – The temperature is really starting to get cold. I get a text from Lynn after I leave the gym (having done 4.3k in 22 mins) asking if I was still coming – pretty much everyone else cancelled because of the cold. I’m game if you are! So instead of waiting around for my lesson, I went straight there to get it done so Lynn could leave at a better hour. Linda, Lindsay and Rae were in the lesson – it got conglomerated because we were the few willing to brave the cold (we also are all owners – hmmm, connection?)
Bentley took a while to warm up to nice soft frame, but did so beautifully. Well, at first he was very hyper, throwing his head around… i thought he might lose his bridle! Can’t blame him, he hadn’t been ridden since Saturday. Once he lost the hyper and got his muscles warmed up, wow! He sure is a beauty! It is a jumping lesson, and we must have been doing well because Lynn kept raising the jumps. We finished with a first – a triple bar! I cannot believe how confident and easy he has become. Lynn measured it when we cooled out, 3’2″ – personal best! Not bad for a trail horse.
Thursday – Gym was an incline day – 3.85km in 26 minutes. I was supposed to do cardio rower too, but after wandering around the gym in a daze for a while, and asking the staff twice, I determined that my gym has everything BUT a cardio rower. So I just did my strength exercises and left. It was now -24 C outside plus wind chill. So I decided to get groceries insted of ride. If it were this in January, I would still go… but I have had enough of these below -20 temperatures and cant be motivated to bobsled my horse down the icy hill in polar vortex temperatures, only to trot circles for an hour. Spring, please come soon!
Friday, I squeaked out 4.77km (3 miles) at the gym in 26 mins. Then had a nice but cold ride in the arena for an hour. It did seem to take forever to get even a somewhat acceptable performance out of Bentley. I am attributing this to the cold’s effects on myself, he was all crooked for the better part of 30 minutes, but I assume it must have been me being cold and crooked as I had a lot of difficulty correcting and preventing it. We did work a bit on speed/cardio – doing intervals of 10 min trot (more like jog), 5 min canter, 3 times over. He was pretty tired by the end, but not done, and likely could have done much more after a walk. This is comforting to know since hes so fat right now, that he isn’t as out of shape as I thought.
Saturday was early off to the barn to do some mucking, so I could get out in time to have lunch with my Grandparents and Aunt. Lee had decided to complicate the day by booking our car for an oil change during this time (and he was to be at work). This was already creating stress, since I had little wiggle room for time. But he assured me he would do the shuttling of the car around town so I could leave the barn in time for lunch.
Then the issue hit – he picked me up at the barn, and the car was roaring like a tyrannosaurus. Somehow the service must have broke our car. Seriously didn’t have time for this. I was roaring as much as the car since the service I never wanted (or believed could wait until next week) resulted in the ruin of my day.
As they hoisted the car up and I fumed, they showed me and explained what was wrong. At some point in the past, there had been work done on the exhaust system, and a poor patchwork job was done. Over a few years, the exhaust pipe connection worked its way out (since the pipe they used was too short), and was hanging down below the front of the car, making the wretched noise. I silently vowed never to buy a used car again – I just don’t know what other shoddy fixes may have been done and have lost all confidence in it.
They put the pipe back in, said it was safe to drive but I will need to get a permanent fix done at a muffler shop. As soon as I got in however, it sounded loud again, I think it was perhaps the lift that was the last straw, and the thing had fallen out again. As they said it was safe to drive, I went to lunch. Halfway down the line, the check engine light came on. Sigh. Thankfully I was able to make it to lunch and my afternoon appointments without my car bursting into flames (though driving was torture) and mom and dad agreed to let me borrow their car for a day or two.
In the evening, I got together with Linda and we did a OCTRA conference call to discuss some ideas for The Pulse. The plan was to do dinner, then ride. Well, as a bit of domino effect from my car troubles and stress, it never played out that way. Instead we spent the night there, making pizza and laughing with 2/3 of her daughters (who I have known since we all were toddlers). Linda dropped on me some wisdom – I don’t have to do ANYTHING. It’s ok to take a break.
This flowed over to Sunday, where our initial plans to go skiing cancelled in favor of other activities. I didn’t even end up riding, but instead enjoyed a day at home – visiting family, tidying up my basement, relaxing, and cooking for the first time in months (its been a long winter of frozen pizzas). I didn’t even realize how much I had missed that – I used to love to cook and bake. I still did my core workout of course, but didn’t put pressure on riding. Bentley is doing fine on riding 2-3x a week and I will have plenty of time once it isn’t -20 outside to bring up the fitness level. I realized this was the first weekend I had given myself a break in perhaps years (except when I was sick and forced to stay home). Despite resigning my full weekends at the barn several weeks ago, my expectations of myself filled up every day and slowly the stress level rose. Even riding became more work than fun in my mind, and I was looking for excuses not to do it. So reflecting back on a lazy Sunday, it was well worth the freckle on my training plan in order to refocus, recharge and motivate me. I am excited again!
Perhaps when I get that taste of spring – the first ride outside, the first hike down the Bruce trail, the first time I don’t lose my keys/phone in all my layers, this motivation will multiply. For now, I will ride when I want to ride, and not feel bad if it isn’t a daily chore.
This week was a little heavy on the gym and light on the photos, so please enjoy this cartoon I found online: