Looking forward to 2015 (maybe)
|December 30, 2014||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
I think I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. Or at least, hoped would happen.
I’m still not exactly sure how, but I have a notepad filled with things I want to do, try, and accomplish in 2015.
It’s less of a roadmap, and more of a non-numbered connect the dots puzzle, but it’s something.
The obvious (horse of course! related)
Farley 50 mile ride, a commitment to dressage
A fifty every year is THE most important ride goal I have with Farley right now.
I’m nervous about getting a 50 this year because of some scheduling conflicts. I may only have 1 or 2 chances at it. If we don’t do a fifty this year, it doesn’t mean we won’t achieve a decade team….but every year I push a season 50 mile completion beyond her 20th year the odds are more and more against us.
The good news is that I may have (re)discovered a secret weapon to keep Farley going through her late teens…dressage.
Dressage was absolutely integral to us finishing our first 100 mile, and I think it’s the answer to achieving our decade team achievement.
It’s hard to describe the feeling that is telling that formalized dressage in the arena is THE key to future endurance seasons, but that feeling is equally as strong as the feeling over the last year that says Farley is not one of those horses that is “young-forever”.
At some point in the last year a switch flipped and she went from a horse that I wouldn’t have thought twice about doing a 100 mile on, to an “older” horse and made some management changes – despite her remaining more sound in the last 3 years than she has been over her entire career. In fact, as of about 6 months ago I had decided I probably wouldn’t do any more 100’s on this horse.
Now with dressage back into our regular work, I actually think it wouldn’t be a problem to ask for one or two more 100’s over the next couple years. Yes, my gut says that dressage is that important to her endurance performance.
I’ve learned to listen to my gut feelings. Bad things happen when I ignore them. So for now, dressage (and continuing to make sure she gets lightly ridden often) goes on the top of the priority list so we get that all important first-50-completion-of-the-season that means we qualified another year towards the decade team.
In addition….to my surprise, I find myself writing this sentence: a 100 in the next 1-2 seasons is not out of the question.
(The other important thing about doing some quality dressage work on Farley right now is that it will nicely prepare me for riding and schooling ML in the near future. )
Drive Farley in a cart
I have a cart. I have a horse that will probably pull a cart.
Except not for the first time in the mud and dark and 40 mph wind. So it hasn’t happened yet.
But it WILL. There’s a whole 365 days in 2015 to make it happen.
I’m hopeful that our cart driving will not only prepare her for a post-endurance career – but in the meantime it will be a suitable cross-training to support our decade team and 100 mile efforts. Unlike jumping which was the WRONG choice as an additional cross-training activity for dressage+endurance, I think pulling a cart is a good match both physically and mentally.
I will be totally fulfilled if I swing a leg over her and do a little walk-jaunt around the arena and hop off. Mission accomplished. I suspect we will both be braver and ready for a little more – but absolutely no pressure to do anything more than a single, very boring lap around the arena. At a walk. Since watching her buck and kick during turn out in the arena has me curled up in a fetal position just thinking about riding the baby horsey (and yet strangely excited by the whole possibility!).
The Less Obvious
Run an ultra
I know, this seems obvious. But I’m not so sure! I have a whole post coming up on some revelations I’ve had on rest intervals and work/rest ratios in training, and I’m thinking that if my goal is to run a 100 miler, maybe the best thing I could do is to take this year off. A year off in exchange for this year where I stretched myself to never before imagined distances and PR’s.
The problem is I don’t want my final ultra prior to a rest period to be a DNF….so that means I’m looking for an early 2015 ultra. I have some precious free weekends….and absolutely no ultras within a 3 hour driving distance exist on those weekends! I might have to go on a road trip or put on my own solo ultra on home trails.
Don’t worry, I’m still planning on doing some running…..because the next thing I want to do in 2015 is to:
Train for some really fast 5 and 10K’s
I’ve never run a 5k. I’ve heard some convincing arguments from people who do ultras (and those who don’t) on why it’s worthwhile to train and run a 5k well and I’m intrigued. It will be different, less time intensive, and I suspect I’ll learn something that will serve me well when I pick up ultras again.
Publish an article
I really really enjoyed writing the RnT essays (and yes, enjoyed the check that went along with winning). Although I could probably argue that I’m still eligible to compete once again in that contest (Graduation date and Submission deadline overlap), I think that 2 years in row is sufficient and it’s time for me to explore other options for getting published.
Without a contest deadline to keep me honest, I’m going to have to make writing a ready-to-publish article and (and finding somewhere to publish something) a high priority in order to make this happen.
Self publish a kindle book
I’m excited about this project and it will be related to the content that I post here – but in a different format and media. To write well I’ve realized I need to write often and write in different styles and medias. Yes, I hope I create something that people are willing to pay .99 cents or perhaps 1.99 for, but it will be worth it even if I never sell a single copy.
The Absolutely Obscure
Write an app
I know. Random. But I have some ideas – mostly endurance related – that I think would be fun. I have found I really enjoy coding (problem solving with a direct correlation to clear cut success is addicting) and instead of continuing to tweak (and break) this website, I’m going to try my hand at creating something useful.
Ummm yes. Even though this very statement seems like a contradiction in a post full of things I want to DO, I’m going to do LESS in the upcoming year.
- I’m training for 5K’s instead of increasingly longer ultras.
- I’m giving Farley 6 months off without a shred of guilt starting the middle of next year.
- ML isn’t going to be doing any sort of real work.
- More outside writing means less posts here, but probably the same time spent writing overall.
- Same goes for the app. I spend an inordinate amount of time tweaking this site on the back end, doing little changes most of you probably don’t even notice. That time will now be spent doing something a little more useful :).
Additionally I’m doing less of those things that aren’t my *priorities. Which means the house will be dirtier, I will buy my fruits and veggies prewashed and cut, and some days I’ll dig barely dirty socks out of the hamper.
*which are, if you’ve been in a dark hole this entire time while reading my blog: running, riding, w’riting
I’ve been seeing an increasing amount of articles discuss being busy as a type of addiction. Born from a high that occurs when you accomplish a task. I have a tendency towards busy, and I’m rarely happy once I achieve it. So the motto is to do less, procrastinate more, and add some more R’esting to my other 3 R’s.
Rediscover some old loves
There are a couple of things that I *used* to do that fell by the way-side once I started vet school. Embroidery and knitting and music. They are the things I do in my down time and I feel they are a very important balance to my more physical hobbies.
It’s impossible for me to relax in the evenings and not do anything….unless I have a hoop or some knitting needles in my hand.
When I’m stuck at home and feel too antsy to sit and work with my hands, playing music is an alternative to doing housework.
They are good, healthy things to have in my life and when they happen, I know I have an appropriate rest/work ratio because they are the first to get pushed to the side when I’m “busy”.
I think I can finally say, “Happy New Year’s” and mean it.
I wanna know more about you writing a book–what fun!
I’m thinking in the style of either hyperbole and a half or this illustrated ultralight backpacking book that is organized as a numbered list with lighthearted (and serious) advice that is illustrated. Obviously in my own style – not necessarily copying either one of those authors, but something that is sorta like short essays, but has an illustration component – mostly because that’s how things in my brain work – in a series of pictures. It’s why I often use so many words in my posts – to try and “paint” the image that is in my brain. Since I started doing some simple drawing here, I find that it’s a lot easier (and more fun) to use the combo of images/words to explain what’s in my brain.
And of course, continuing to plug away at my serial novel – but that’s more posts/posting chapters as I go, not a comprehensive “product”.
did some brainstorming last night and ran it by aurora/funder and they think it’s a good idea….what about a book of 101 mistakes I’ve made (so far) in endurance? A numbered list with a short story/blurb and an illustration? I spent thirty minutes thinking and came up with well over 101 things so I definitly have material. 2.99 on amazon :).
I am SO THERE. I have extra mistakes you can borrow if you need to write a sequel….
So at this point I have 106 mistakes and now I think perhaps all my mistakes need not make the first book. We shall see. At some point I’ll put the table of contents up so you can all laugh with me 🙂
Sounds like a great year ahead. Dressage is so good for their bodies, and will it be possible to turn Farley out at another property with plenty of space when she has her break? When i was a kid we used to turn the ponies out for a couple of months every couple of years on a friends farm – i swear they came back in a year younger than when they went out.
Good luck for the end part of school – I’m just about to start – my first work task in the new year is to send in my resignation!
CONGRATS on the life change. Very excited for you.
On the turn out thing – unfortunately nothing like that is possible around here. And that’s what makes this so interesting to me. Even though she was standing in a smallish paddock with occasional turnout, the REST still made a huge difference with no significant drawbacks. For a lot of years I borderline overrode my horses out of the belief that because I didn’t have a pasture situation available, they needed to stay in some sort of work to stay healthy. So, when it worked out that she was standing there for months at a time (a year…) I was racked with guilt. Which seems to have been misplaced. Don’t get me wrong – I’m very pleased that I have found a way for her to get out that is in no way work (little kids doing walk/trot lessons on her for 20 min) because movement is important in horses, but even without that, it seems like the correct decision was just what made me feel so guilty – just let her stand there. Turn her out when I can but don’t obsess over it.
I got so caught up in the fact that she wasn’t in a pasture that I missed the entire point – that REST was more important than the exact environemental options at my disposal. And no amount of “make up” that I was trying to do “because I didn’t have a pasture” was fulfilling the requirement of “rest”.
That being said…if a pasture option came available for either of thehorses – especially because now I have 2 and it would be nice to alternate them – I would leap on it! I’m certainly not doing this the “best way” but it certainly seems adequate!
Sounds like your horses know to let down and relax in their current situation just fine. It’s funny how much they (and us) need rest when working. We also had one mare that when she was about 10 or so we found that she only needed to be worked a couple of times a week – even mid season – just to keep her ticking over, although if she didn’t get a quick snuggle and groom she pouted and fretted. She was the only one we never turned out off our place because she missed the attention too much! Horses are silly!
I can relate to so much of this for my 2015, as well. I think I am addicted to being busy and I am VERY interested in reading the articles you’ve been finding if you’d be able to pass them along? I’m also interested to hear why jumping was not good cross training for endurance+dressage. Was it that Farley didn’t like it? Or do you find that it was teaching/encouraging things contrary to the other two disciplines?
Happiest of new years to you, my friend. =) I will send your Happy New Year present next week with better luck, I hope! =)
I’ll go back and see if I can grab the articles for my dec link luv post.
On the jumping. Farley loved jumping. Loved it way more than me in fact. Lol. Jumping has far more impact on joints, tendons, and ligaments than some of the other choices available. Because keeping tendons healthy has always been my number one limiting factor in endurance, choosing something on purpose that was akin to trotting down hills all the time, just seemed silly. I have no proof of course, but it was after adding jumping into my routine that Farley started being nqr after two years of being pretty sound. And then we pulled lame at our next 100 with a rebow tendon. Could have been coincidence, but the risk benefit isn’t enough for me to take that chance again.
I assume you’ll elaborate on just exactly *what* the dressage that is so crucial entails..
I actually have no idea why dressage impacts endurance so much. Is it because it happens in twenty min or less windows? And there fore you activate different pathways than longer endurance riding? Is it because you rarely do the same thing and are asking for change every stride? Intense, concentrated, and short – three things that don’t describe most of my conditioning rides. I’m not sure what the magic is of dressage but it seems to consistently keep my horse young and our biggest goals were accomplished during periods of regular dressage training. I have no idea the actual mechanism behind any of it
May I, with a strictly amateur understanding, suggest that perhaps dressage is so helpful is because the purpose of dressage is to improve the quality of your horse’s gaits and way of motion – through improving their longitudinal and lateral flexion, you can influence their entire physique and muscular structure, and in turn, how their joints are supported.
I think that this helps with endurance because it tones and shapes the muscle in a way that supports and strengthens the horse’s movement and – although I’ve never done endurance before – through reading your blog I feel that’s quite central to endurance.
Actually perhaps you might find this article helpful? http://dressagetoday.com/article/increase-mobility-26646 It does discuss some aspects of dressage training with higher level movements, but the principles applied work through every level of training.
Basically, I kind of look at it like a way to help my horse be the best that he can be. 🙂
Sounds good to me! I’ve thought of it in the past like free weight training – not only are you strengthening macro muscles, you are building all the smaller stabilizing muscles that help prevent injury and reduces their susceptibility to fatigue. I will definitely check out that article!
Is Your backpacking book going to include learning to hang a bear bag….?
In your backpacking book, are you going to have a section on learning how to hang a bear bag…?
I would look forward to a chance to play fiddles with you next year.
So, I was saying that I would be doing a endurance subject book sorta like the backpacking book, not that I woould do a backpacking book – I just feel like I’m not in any way an expert inbackpacking?
Ha! I guess when I saw the word backpack, the vision of my video swam in front of my eyes.
And when you mentioned it, the picture of matt in the tree untangling it came to my mind!
You really should consider writing an article about endurance riding and how awesome it is – for a RUNNING magazine. We really should have more injured/burned out marathoners trying endurance!
Are you sticking with trail races or thinking about 5-10ks on roads? Roads sound so boring, ugh, but if it was only a couple miles…
Probably a combination of trail and roads for 5k. I feel like both could teach me some valuable lessons and 3 miles on the road is doable for me. EXCELLENT idea on the article. Thanks! I’ll see what I can do…..