Fall 2017 IRL
|November 3, 2017||Posted by Melinda under Training journal|
Fall is when the colors on the trail are my favorite, the long stretches of 100 degree days back to back are mostly over, and you get a rain shower or two but nothing that interferes with footing on the trail (usually). It’s the perfect time for birdwatching, long runs and rides, kayaking, camping, and visiting parks that get too much traffic in the summer.
With my emphasis on seasons I’m doing these IRL recaps seasonally (every couple of months) instead of monthly. In the part of California where I live, September and October are Fall.
Endurance is equal parts JUST GETTING IT DONE THROUGH SHEER FORCE OF WILL, finding a way to make training automatic without using willpower at all, and small choices every day that add up to something more in the end.
I haven’t been able to train consistently since moving jobs (again) in July and dealing with some unrelated blog/running/riding bullsh*t that has sapped all my mental and emotional energy since the beginning of September. I’d try to get runs and rides and other self-care done and fail over and over so I knew I needed to put in the work to figure out the what when and how training (and blogging) gets done in my current life. It took most of the two months of fall to figure it out, but I think I learned some really good lessons (yes there will be a post) and I’m back on track.
- 22 total miles of easy runs
- 4 mile, 1 hour “adventure” run. Can’t call this a run as it was more navigational bush-whacking. (Thank you Jo for the company)
- 3 powerhike practices
- 1 Long run of 15 miles
- TOTAL mileage: 41 miles (remember that is is over 2 months)
Most of the mileage happened in October once I got my schedule figured out and I finally got my groin to stop cramping after runs. It was the weirdest thing. I tried running the evening after I got home from Juniper Lake camping (and lots of hiking carrying Fig) in early September and it cramped during the run. Not a strain – a cramp like a charlie horse, but on one side of my groin. I aborted the run and walked instead. A couple days later the groin did a serious “you-aren’t-walking-or-standing-go-ahead-and-finish-surgery-on-a-stool” not associated with a run and it really really sucked. I tried running a couple of times and post run I could feel it “saying hi” even though it never cramped as badly again. Skipped a bunch of run, monitored how it felt after the short runs I did get in ~once and week and after about a month it felt fine!
My obvious conclusion – I’m getting old.
The most exciting news of the month is that I found a running group! They do a longer run on Sunday mornings with options from ~8 miles to up to 20. I have to drive an hour but it is SO WORTH it to be able to run long runs on someone else’s route where I don’t have to think about it, and have a longer run definitively scheduled on my calendar so I can’t make excuses. The people are great and it’s a casual affair that’s great if you are looking for time on your feet and mileage and not obsessed with your pace per mile. That’s how I found myself doing 15 miles last sunday, which is exactly 3x longer than any run I’ve done in the last four months. *EEK*.
The most obvious thing coming up is the Western States 100 mile lottery. I’m equal parts torn between “any year is a good year to get in”, and “Oh God please not this year”. From past experience and talking to other people I’m fairly confident I could get myself ready in 6 months if I get in this year. I register this weekend and find out the results of the lottery in early December. Back up plans for 100 mile qualifiers next year are Tahoe 100 mile (July) and Run Rabbit Run (September, in Colorado).
MerryLegs – a coming out
- 4 arena rides. Including one where we schooled around the arena like real adults!
- 1 Home trail “ride”. Actually more of a handwalk since she at no time resembled something I wanted to ride
- Granite Bay trailer out 5 mile/2 hour
- Oroville trailer out 6.3 mile/2:20hr
This season was ML’s coming out party. She has a bridle of her own (Thanks N*!), we have figured out steering with a bit and bridle, and can do a passable walk/trot session in the arena that actually looks (and feels) like riding. Both of our trailering out adventures started with me very skeptical that I would ride her that day (or ever) but 13 minutes later had me in the saddle having a BLAST.
She’s making all the right choices on the trails and is an incredible ride. Her attitude is 100% “let’s go DO THINGS” and she gallops up to me every day and can’t wait to shove her head into the halter.
Folks, I’ve NEVER had a horse do this. It’s incredibly ego boosting.
I’ve haven’t felt this attached to an unproven horse since I saw Minx in a pasture for the first time. I sincerely hope she wants to do endurance because it would be SO HARD to let her go and I can only afford 2 horses. With Farley retired, if I want to do endurance it’s gotta be her.
Our biggest block right now is her mental stamina. At about 2 1/2 hours she starts to shut down mentally a needs a break from navigating trail, organizing her feet, and figuring out communication from me. I think some buddy rides, a camping trip, and simply time will help.
Looks like I may have solved my “horses aren’t fun” funk I’ve been in all summer.
Farley – what does retirement look like?
- 45 min ride on home trails (a complete effing disaster of a ride that I spent mostly on foot doing ground work)
- 3 arena rides
Well, we all know how the fall season worked out for Farley.
Practically, retirement doesn’t mean “off work” for Farley. It just means she isn’t the priority any more.
I ride her when I have time after ML.
She doesn’t get the fancy expensive supplements – instead of Platinum Performance CJ I’m going to see if I get similar results using the cheap feedstore MSM.
She does still have to learn new things – like lateral movement. (Farley: “I HATEZ YOU FOR FOREVER”)
When I do ride her I try to do things in a new fresh way. We’ve spent a lot of our career trotting. So now I tend to walk or canter. We do more arena stuff. I let her have fun over ground poles as long as she keeps it down to a dull roar (Farley: “I LOVEZ JUMPING SO MUCH LET ME JUST CHARGE AND BUNNY HOP PLEASZ!!!!!!!!!”
I give her a mash first, before we ride to change her emotional response to “getting out”.
If everything works out financially and weather-wise I’m going to toss her into an endurance ride of LD-ish length at Thanksgiving. I bet she has enough base fitness to do it and she still loves rides (I think). If she doesn’t, I won’t try it again. But if she does and we still have enough base to git ‘er done (and once we do one, we just need to do one every couple months) what’s the harm in letting the old lady have a couple more hoorah’s on her terms?
I think that’s what retirement should look like if you (hopefully) get to clock out with a sound body and mind. You still learn new things, you eat your dessert first, and you stay active doing the things you want to do.
I’ve decided that for me cross-training is other outdoor activities that contribute to self-care and sorta-kinda physically support riding and running.
That’s a fancy way of saying there’s no way I’m going to the gym. Or weight lifting in my garage. Or doing anything I don’t love that’s support-work for my other activities. Maybe later in life I’ll feel differently, but right now I’m too busy kayaking (excellent upper body and core!), hiking (feel the lower body burn, especially when carrying a kid), and camping. Here’s the adventures I had during the fall.
Camping trip to Juniper Lake in Lassen National Park with hiking and kayaking
Paddle boarding at Kaweah Lake
Hiking in Sequoia National Park. (yes, this was the 5th National Park I went to in a span of about 5 weeks for those of you counting – Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Lassen, Whiskeytown, Sequoia).
Kayaking in Oroville 2x!
Kayaking at Englebright AND I did overnight kayak camping there twice!!!!
Kayaking at Whiskeytown Lake
Checked out one new local trail – Black Swan Preserve. It’s a pretty 2 mile loop perfect for power hiking practice and a picnic.
I’m going to write about some of the lessons I learned about training this Fall, and why I’m looking forward to winter in a future post, but until then I want to know….how was your Fall season? What did you learn and what adventures did you have?
PS – Here’s some things me and Fig did that were NOT blog related this fall.