A sunday short
|May 2, 2021
|Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized
We are going to try something. In the philosophy of “throw some stuff against the wall and see what sticks”…we are going to do a Sunday chat here on the blog. I’d like to imagine us sitting in my backyard in a casual get-together, beverage of choice in hand, around the fire pit, chatting about the mundane and the interesting. Admittedly these chats are going to be a bit one-sided, but if you had asked me what was on my mind as we sipped, here’s the cliff-notes version of all the little things that are percolating through my brain that I don’t want to develop into full-fledged posts for whatever reason.
A friendship free from obligation or guilt?
How many friendships in your life are free from obligation or guilt?
I would venture to guess not very many.
I have a handful of close adult friends that could be categorized this way. They are the relationships that I value the most. It feels…so healthy.
I got to thinking about my horses.
Five years ago my relationship with my horses moved from something of joy to one driven by guilt.
Like the person that is trying to hate themselves skinny, I have tried to nag myself into making time for horses.
Is it any wonder the relationship has suffered?
Do I negative talk myself into running? NO! Why would I do that? I run because I love it! Not because I “should.”
I run because I love how it makes me feel, and because everything is a little bit better after a run.
As usual, positive reinforcement and sustainable small steps is usually the answer to any situation that feels impossible in life.
Words have power. I can’t remember the last time that someone asked me about my horses or riding that it wasn’t coached in terms of guilt, excuses, and apologies. I’m thinking I should reframe both the story I tell myself and the story I tell others when it comes to the place horses have in my life right now.
The Gift Giver
I’ve always been a terrible gift giver. Most of the time when I receive a gift there some major anxiety attached because I’m pretty sure it’s a lose-lose situation. Either I will intend to get a gift, keep putting it off, and then never actually get the gift….OR I will get a gift (finally) and then it will sit on my table for months because the only thing worse than making phone calls is mailing a package.
I’m happy to say there might be progress in this area. Just last week I managed to buy my sister a sympathy gift a mere three weeks after she euthanized her 18 year cat. I went through all the stages of putting the task on a todo list (a normal person would get a gift. You can manage this!), deleting the todo item (accept that you are a sub-standard human being and this is not possible for you), and then actually getting a gift and shipping it (yes, I used amazon and shipped directly. So?).
I even managed to avoid my first impulse to get her a book titled “101 things to do with a dead cat” and instead found a tasteful coffee cup that included in the description “good for crazy cat ladies.” It was pink, cartoon-y, and sorta cute. Exactly the sort of thing my 5-year old daughter would have gotten her.
How did I manage to actually get an appropriate and timely gift? I’ve been watching my daughter.
What five year old doesn’t love to receive and give gifts? There’s no obligation or guilt mixed up with the gift giving prowess of a 5 year old and through her I’ve learned a thing or two. In case you are like me and the sight of a gift feels you with dread since returning the favor is going to occupy approximately 110% of all three of your functioning brain cells until you give up the notion of being a socially-acceptable human being and retreat back to your angry dark dirty cave…I’m going to give you the basic primer.
- It does not have to be a perfect gift. Go with your gut. Wander retail-land without a plan and make an instinctive choice. (except if that is “101 things to do with a dead cat” and the person in question was quite attached to their cat and has expressed multiple times how sad they are.
- It can be a gift you bought for yourself, and then decided either to give away since it would make someone else happier….or it makes you so happy you just know you need to be two – one for them AND you.
- Multiple gifts. Don’t rely on just one or two gifts. That’s a lot of pressure. Get three or four things. ONE of them will land, right?
- Don’t give excuses or apologize.
- Don’t just wait for the holidays. Make up your own holidays. assign gifts to holidays months past or in the future. Do it boldly. Remember rule #4.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times.
For some reason there is a single conversation that I had over and over with nearly every rider at the end of rides recently. Which makes me think that I need to say it here too.
Yes, I know you cooled your horse at the finish and pulsed in.
Cooling your horse is not a one time event in order to pulse in.
Bringing a panting, dry, warm to the touch horse with a pulse in the 70’s is NOT going to earn you a passing “fit to continue” grade at the vet check.
The point of cooling is not to achieve a one time 60 bmp pulse.
The point of cooling is to help your horse recover by helping it dissipate core heat…..
- …which will prevent your horse from cooking from the inside out. (yay!)
- ….which will let the blood move from a cooling function to rest and digest functions.
The point of reaching a 60 pulse is to help us determine that your horse is recovering from its effort on the trail, and is part of the overall picture to help us determine whether your horse is fit to continue.
Your horse has a large body that is generating heat…that must be dispersed through a limited amount of surface area (compared to the size of their internal mass). You gotta help them out.
A dry, panting horse doesn’t need ice, special cooling blankets, or to eat….
….It needs water. Large quantities of water. To be dumped, sponged, and scraped off (or whatever your favorite current research study says). Bonus if you can find shade or a large fan to park them by.
And then keep cooling until they are cool.
That means that if the water dries off the horse, the horse stays cool to the touch. If they are warm and dry your job isn’t done.
It’s amazing the difference cooling makes. A cool horse can eat, digest, and move blood to its guts to make them gurgle and do their thing. A cool horse is a happy horse. A cool horse is less likely to need treatment and much more likely to be cleared to continue down the trail.
Cooling isn’t optional or a one time event to achieve a particular number. It is something that is performed until the horse is cool.
How I know it’s going to be OK.
I did a really hot, hilly run on Friday.
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Some of the climbs really really sucked. They did not inspire confidence that I would be 100 mile ready in 12 weeks on a course that will be flatter but likely much hotter and certainly more humid.
But, here’s the thing.
Climbing the hill isn’t the point. When the race is long enough and the hill steep enough, everyone is walking and huffing and puffing.
The real test is what you do afterwards.
After climbing for a mile in in full sun at 1pm in the afternoon and reaching the top….can I still run down the other side?
The answer was always yes, which means I’m doing OK.
It’s a bit reminiscent of life don’t you think? There’s hills to climb and you will probably do so slowly and with a variable amount of cussing. But the real test is what you do when the circumstances change and you are faced with a stretch of easy running.
More things that mean I’m doing ok.
There’s exactly two parameters that will tell you all you need to know about the state of my mental health on any given day.
- Have I showered?
- Did I fill up my gas tank at any time other than when the light was on and threatening to strand me any moment?
For now the answer is Yes and No, which is obviously a solid B+, which means I’m nailing this adulting thing…at least for now.