Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I Did A Thing & Had Some Thoughts

When I made a list of goals for this year, I tried to choose things that would challenge me, but still be achievable. I set as many personal goals as horse goals, because I have a long history of getting nowhere with horses.
you have no idea how hard i had to twist her arm to get this photo
her: it's bad luck to wear the shirt before the race!
me: but we're not gross and sweaty yet JUST PUT IT ON

Then I made the mistake of mentioning to Roxie’s mom that one of my goals was to run a half marathon.

And she’s like “COOL SIGN UP FOR THIS ONE IM DOING ITLL BE FUN”.

So I signed up. Months ago. I told myself I would train, but my running shoes were dead and the one time I tried to run, I ended up limping for a week afterwards, courtesy of said shoes.

Maybe that should have been a sign. Maybe not.
even Zoe thinks it's not a great plan

Regardless, three days before the race, I finally made it to the running store and bought shoes (on sale). The sales’ lady’s face made a pretty priceless expression when I told her I was “getting started” and that my goal race was a half marathon that weekend. But I digress.

So I went. And I did it. And I’m trying to un-jumble my thoughts about it, because apparently the post-race stupids are a real thing.
i also wore a donut like a tutu

1) Emotional awareness. Pre-race, I had about an hour and a half to kill by myself before my distance started. Now remember. This is a fun run. I did not train for it. I had no expectations of “doing well” and was simply out there to meet a goal I’d set for myself. No matter what I did, it was going to be a Personal Best, because I have simply never done this distance before in any capacity.

I spent the entire hour and a half kind of agitated and nervous. “Washing out”, we’d call it in a racehorse. I’d like to think that because I was aware of it, I was more able to make good choices and control it, but the truth was that I was really nervous.

And if I’m that nervous to do something like that on my own, how exactly am I translating that to my horse under saddle?
one of them trained. one of them is a blerch.


2) Conditioning matters. Obviously, I did not train by any understanding of the word. Conditioning and strength building are something I talk about in terms of horse development all the time, but actually feeling the effects myself put it in perspective I think.

I’ve been coasting along this year and not addressing rider fitness. That’s not ok.

this man was having a fabulous time

3) Individual goals are diverse and important--I get annoyed by all the online bashing of “she’s not a real horseperson because we have different end goals with our horses” stuff that goes around. It was real funny to watch that play out over 13.1 miles. Some people walked. Some people sprinted. Some people brought friends. Some people were alone.

THEY ALL FINISHED.

Huh.

all sweaty and grossified

4) Finishing together is awesome. In an event I could not possibly have planned, Roxie’s mom (who ran the full marathon, which started before the half) caught me about a half mile before the finish and then we crossed the finish line together.

We were going stupidly fast because she is a crazy person and I nearly threw up on her and/or the nice man handing out medals, but it was so much more fun to finish with a friend. And know that no matter what, I gave it my best on that day. It wasn't about who went farther or who was better--it was about accomplishing something together.

next let's accomplish buying custom boots together

As an equestrian, I find it very easy and even therapeutic to throw myself into the “horse” side of the equation every day, be that tack, training, planning, or what have you. All that is important, but it doesn’t address the human side, which is a very real problem.

For me, this means that I want to change the way I address sport in my own life--I want to be stronger and fitter and I want to figure out the whole race day mental game aspect. When it’s Zoe and I stepping into the show ring, I want to be a solid partner for her, not just blindly hoping she can carry my lazy ass through.
champion of finishing real slow

61 comments:

  1. First of all, holy cow, as a former competitive runner I cannot believe you survived a half without training! Mind of steel! Second, I totally feel you on the "needing to the be there for my horse physically" thing. I went from super fit, to super not fit after Nicole left and I lost my fire for CrossFit. I'm just now starting to get back into it because I need to do this for me and for my horse both. It's hard, but it makes a big difference.

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    1. I haven't ridden much this year and had other stuff going on, so I left the fitness stuff slide. Gotta get back to it.

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  2. At first I read this sentence as "I had about an hour and a half to kill myself" and I was like that's how I feel before half marathons too!!! But no, that's not what you said...

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  3. Yep. Rider fitness is lacking here too. There is nothing like your horse peering back at you as you wheeze your way up a hill

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    1. We can't claim to be athletes if we aren't athletic.

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  4. Yeahhh, I'd have quit after about a mile of walking with no training. Damn girl. #beastmode

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  5. You are pretty damn awesome. And know that you would have beaten me, because I would have died from lung problems and/or joint crumbling long before the finish! Yay Aimee!

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    Replies
    1. Well yes but you're also smart enough to not sign up. So.

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  6. way to go, girl - major congrats for getting out there and making it happen! i love your takeaways too. point #3 especially is such an easy trap to get caught up in, esp in this highly public digital social world where it's really easy to compare ourselves to everyone around us -- which totally overlooks the fact that it's all comparing apples to oranges. we've all got different purposes, objects, and means for reaching those ends. and it's allllll good. also interesting observations on your own race day mental state as it compares to how you cope with bringing a horse into a higher stakes atmosphere too. i'll be curious to see how you take advantage of that new knowledge!! anyway congrats again!

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    Replies
    1. There are many roads to Rome and not everyone starts in Carthage. ;-)

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  7. omg im stupid proud of you... i trained like a TOTAL NAZI for my first half and still wanted to throw up at the end... i think id crap my pants if i went into it cold.

    beat dat blerch.

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  8. I LOVE THIS!! Your mental strength is incredible; not many people could have gone into this race without training a single mile and finished feeling like they accomplished something. And the broader perspective we gain about what our horses go through as athletes by pursuing athletics ourselves is invaluable. You go, girl. <3

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    Replies
    1. As someone who literally never did a team sport as a kid, completing as an individual is a whole new world for me.

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  9. "To finish is to win" should be a motto of all distance sports, not just endurance riding. :) Huge congrats.

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  10. Holy shit! You ran a half marathon with zero training?! (Coincidentally, I just posted today about dropping to a shorter distance in the race I'm doing soon.) Awesome, AWESOME job for making across that finish line!
    And it's totally something very special to cross that line with a friend. I did a post all about that a couple of summers ago too.
    Lastly, I applaud you for wanting to be a stronger, fitter partner for Zoe. That's something I need to work on as well with my horses.

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    1. Ahahaha let's not applaud my bad decisions too loudly. Let's just say I kicked off training for my next half by doing the first one.

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  11. Rider fitness is a real thing that helps your riding so much. Says the woman who has dropped off the fitness bandwagon.

    Also, how the hell are you still standing after a half marathon with no training? That's like... insane...

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  12. Daaaaaanngggg girl. I've run maybe 5 half marathons and I can't fathom finishing one in any state with no training. Color me impressed! And yeah...rider fitness. It makes such a huge difference and yet it's so hard to get my butt in gear.

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  13. Congrats lady!! I'm so impressed - I would've been out like 3 miles in (of walking). Also, #3 is everything. I struggle so much comparing my current level with where I feel I should be. Great takeaways; thank you for sharing!

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  14. Ugh. I am so jealous! I want to run a Beat the Blerch race! They look so fun. Love the take away, too. Being fit mentally and physically is extremely important in supporting your equine partner. Doesn't mean you have to be an extreme athlete, you just have to figure out what level of fitness works for you.

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    1. Well my sample size=1, but it was a fun race.

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  15. HOW?! ARE YOU?! ALIVE?!

    But really, amen to all this. We just put my new horse on a conditioning plan and after two days of galloping it's becoming apparent I need to step up my game. At least the gym is an indoor activity when I die from the cold this winter?

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    1. Hm indoor gym. I feel like that will be a good idea soon.

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  16. 13.1 miles with no training? That's crazy! I'm training for a half right now...I've got about a month to go.

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    1. Ha I love your training pictures. Best of luck in your race!

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  17. You are craaaazy! And I'm so proud and impressed! I think we should do a blog group fitness thing... I'm totally inspired.

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    Replies
    1. Ugh I would not read fitness blogs. I'm also freaked out by stalker apps and watches.

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  18. Way to go girl! I'm not sure I could do it! You're a big inspiration for sure!

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  19. Good job you! I am really trying to do the "stronger and fitter" part as well.

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  20. Holy shit woman, a half marathon is no joke. Way to kill it! Also.... custom boots must happen!

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    1. In hindsight, maybe I should have started with that.

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  21. Way to go! That's super impressive!

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  22. I can't even walk that far, much less try to run it. Congrats, that's awesome! It's always been a goal of mine but I keep pushing it off to "someday"

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    1. The whole vet school thing seems pretty legit distracting. ;-) You'll get there.

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  23. I'm going through some of this myself. After feeling ready to pass out after the BN XC course this weekend, I've realized I need to focus on my own fitness before I can really have expectations of giving my horse the ride he deserves. But ugh... gyms....

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  24. I beat my kid in a race last week. It was maybe 50 yards, and he's 7 and has asthma. Surviving a half marathon is way more impressive! (Fact: I don't know how far a half marathon is. Sounds far, though. I'd die. Are there rest stops with wine?)

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  25. I still can't believe you did 13+ miles with basically no training, haha. Props to you! :-D

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    1. Well. I'll definitely train for next time.

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    2. Yeah dude, I am pretty proud of your mental and physical toughness. <3 Don't forget to mention the 2 days spent in a car afterwards either.

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    3. And the one day wandering around Olson's like wtf is happening to me

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  26. Replies
    1. GOALS

      No really I am that much of a list person.

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  27. I signed up for a half whilst pregnant with baby 1. It'll be a great motivator to get back in shape after he's born I thought as I mailed away my monies....I ran the 5k that race instead. LOL. You're a beast! Way to go! #goalbreeches is in full effect again after baby 2, this time decidedly not signing up for post partum half marathons whilst gestating ;) in general I'm just not one who enjoys running and my body doesn't hold up too great with it either...

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  28. Is that an Oatmeal run?! Good for you - it sounds like you had fun AND challenged yourself. Both of those are wins in my book

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    1. Ha yes. I love the Oatmeal. (The comic. THE COMIC.)

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