Spectrum

I know I know, reblogging is kind of a lazy way out of this week’s post. My life has taken over my schedule and won’t let go- but I still wanted to get something up for the week. Heart of the Continent is coming up with schooling starting Wednesday and competition starting Thursday so I will make a point of posting through out or at least after that show- the biggest show of the year here in MB!
I picked Spectrum to reblog because reading through it I can both relate to some of what my past-self was experiencing, and can find comfort from some of the stress I’m under currently with what I was feeling back then on the rodeo circuit. The past couple weeks have been full of great things, but also some more stressful, hectic things. I’m keeping up all right, but sometimes I wish I was off travelling again with the cowboys/girls around NZ.
Wish me luck with catching up to myself this week, and enjoy this piece from katmah history!

The Professional Amateur

 In less then 3 days since making my move North to my family’s place in Whangerei, I’ve gone from grooming for the rich/elite/ whatever show jumping barn, to roping steers and barrel racing at a local rodeo. Talk about opposite ends of the spectrum!

The first few days at my new home were pretty quiet. While everyone else was away at work or studying for exams- I stayed in the house, cleaned (yes mom, I cleaned), and baked. As the weekend came, things got a bit more exciting- roping and barrel time! I went with Alison and Diva, her horse, about an hour and a half to Paparoa where the Northland District Team Roping Club was having a club day.

Saturday consisted of practice time for the 5 or 6 of us there. The group joked that I was their new groom- but soon had me practicing heeling with the…

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Find that rhythm

“I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” -Nick Caraway, The Great Gatsby.

That variety of life. Do you ever look around at what you fill your life with and wonder how you’re lucky enough to be where you are? I do. Sometimes I have to pause and breathe- taking in everything that surrounds me. As you will have picked up by now if you read my posts even on a semi-regular basis, my days could use a few extra hours in them majority of the time. I’m surrounded by amazing people who inspire me, support me, and keep me on this planet. Sometimes all the different shoes I fill can cloud my focus. I can get lost in it all, forget to slow down and take that breath.

This weekend thankfully I had a few different opportunities to do just that. With my first show of the season coming up next weekend, as well as a midterm, I am so glad this weekend turned out the way it did. Whether it was sitting on the floor of the gym or in an Olive Garden over Sangria (technically not supposed to have alcohol yet- but seriously, a little Sangria never hurt anyone), or anything else in between- I got the chance to just slow everything down for a little while.

A phrase often used by C in our lessons is “find that rhythm and stick to it”. Put into a riding context, finding your rhythm or pace is imperative to getting around a course, or doing anything really. You definitely notice when you aren’t on it. I’ve had rides where I can’t find that rhythm if my life depended on it. But when you find it, things happen for you. You see distances, you make lines, that single oxer on the diagonal is amazing. I’ve been translating that to my daily life lately. Sticking to “that rhythm” is how I make my schedules aline. My different lives, and the goals that go along within each of them, instead of colliding and crashing into each other- they work around one another and often even compliment each other.

Sometimes, like the past week, I fall off that rhythm and get a little lost in everything. There was less “enchantment” to life and more just flat out exhausting. It’s like getting into a combination at an awkward distance and then getting stuck in the middle because you lose your momentum. It’s not a good feel. Re-organization, a deep breath, and “riding positive” (man, m&c are full of philosophical quotes) are what is needed to get through that combo successfully. That’s exactly what I’ve been able to do the past few days.

Something about this upcoming show in Brandon is a little bit nerve wracking for me (besides it being the first show of the year). I have a lot going on right now. It’s really not surprising my focus isn’t always where it needs to be. Between two.. three jobs, completely reworking my eating habits (which is still amazing, btw), spring courses, and training myself and my horse for competition… things can get jumbled sometimes. Some of the weird feeling about next weekend is probably because it’s the first show in a long time that I’m going into with no chronic injuries to speak of. Those ongoing issues almost became a comfort zone for me, even though they were far from comfortable. When something is with you for that long, it becomes a habit and part of who you are. While I’m very excited that I have been able to move past that pain, it’s a little weird not having it still. And of course, there is the fear that it will come back. I don’t write about this often because its a scary thing for me sometimes, and I have struggled with it and worked on it for a long time. However, it’s also something that I’ve gotten through, learned from, and improved from. I’m in the best shape of my life, and never been more able to handle whatever life throws at me. I’ve always said that life begins when you step out of your comfort zone. This is just another piece of that comfort zone I’m stepping away from, onto better things.

The other new thing for me is heading over to jumper land. It’s not exactly new, I’ve been there before. But it feels different this time. Maybe because I’m more prepared than I’ve ever been. And it’s one step closer to some big goals of mine. Things are starting to happen for me, hard work is paying off. It’s exciting, and it’s terrifying. Finding that rhythm with my horse isn’t as elusive as it used to be- and I have much more confidence in myself as a rider to know that even if things don’t go perfect- I can fix them. I can get out of that combination. A little leg, positivity, and a lot of determination is all it takes.

Up until this weekend I was having a hard time visualizing myself riding around a course and something not going wrong. My focus just wasn’t there yet. Then, this morning, while hacking Willard as a rain storm pelted the tin roof above us, things started to clear up for me. All I could hear was the rain, all I could feel was the rhythm of my horse underneath me. No conscious thoughts, other than knowing that this is my rhythm. This is where I need to be right now. Things clicked back into place somewhere in those moments. I’m back on a rhythm. Thank all the things. Not being on a “rhythm” is frankly exhausting, and a lot more work than it should be.

Had enough philosophical musings? Okay. Well here is a quick update on Week 4 of my diet! It’s been good! I had a few days where I wasn’t feeling amazing, but I think that was because I overdid it on the fibre side of things- which can cause some GIT discomfort. I’ve been feeling much better the past few days and more back to my normal. I made some amazing meals over the past week, as well as some cookies. I’m interested to find out how this new eating style holds up over a weekend of competition. I’m really, really hoping that it goes well and I have just as much energy as I have had while eating this way and that carries over to my riding. That would be amazing! It will definitely take planning. But that is something I am getting very good at.

This upcoming weekend will be a good trial run on many fronts. I am hoping for good results in all aspects, but it’s one of those things you just have to take as it comes. No sense worrying about it until something happens worth worrying about. Although at this point I’m wondering if we should do some anti-rain dances. That might be something to think about.

As usual, here are some photos of my delicious food creations (and one just for fun selfie)!

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Hummus, anyone?

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Breakfast “pasta”

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COOKIES! I love cookies!

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Look at how much my hair is growing!!!

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Week 3- Just keeps gettin’ better

Another week has disappeared somewhere. Where does the time go?

Classes started this week- thankfully I only had time to take one. I can promise you that if I wasn’t working full time I would be in more. However the fact is money needs to be made and this one class fits in perfectly with that money making schedule. Even more awesomely a good portion of the class takes place in the gym practicing different lifts and exercises- which means I can coordinate my gym time with my brain time.

So this week went by so fast I can hardly remember most of it. Like seriously. Right now, though, sitting here working on this post- I feel like I’ve had three weeks in one. I’ve certainly done enough to cover more hours than have past. Monday after work I took Will out for a long hack down the dirt road to try and burn some of his energy. I’d guess we went about 4 miles, half of that either trotting or galloping, the other half walking or trotting serpentines in another attempt to regain his attention. Thoroughbreds. Some days. Tuesday I made a mad dash from the office to the barn, did a quick ride in the ring focusing on bending and lateral work and then another hack down the road before getting back downtown for class where I stayed until 9:30. That was a bit of a crazy day. Wednesday brought some relaxation time with Mom where we were treated to manis, pedis, and facials (new favourite thing). Thursday I decided that trying to make the barn and back before class was not worth it so instead I spent an hour in the gym doing sprints- before my 3 hr lab… in the gym… Writing this down I am re-considering whether I’m sane or not.

Friday was probably my favourite day this week (besides facial day, obvi), even though it snuck up on me AGAIN. Fridays are the days I drive like crazy to get out to the country to coach the local 4H club. Last week was a bit touch and go as it was week one for all of us- and not all the kids were there, and the horses were feeling spring. This week we had pretty much everyone, and I was able to split them into smaller groups. This was a lot more cohesive to progress then trying to do 10-15 kids and horses at once. That would be insanity. Both groups this week did a similar lesson plan- what I have named the Y exercise. For pretty obvious reasons. It’s in the shape of a “Y”. Original. I know. Anyway. I’ve done this exercise with one of my previous coaches, except with jumps and at a higher speed. The premise is having the horse and rider walk into the “Y”

|  |        <— like that except imagine it being a little more compact and closer together.

/ / \ \

while the instructor is standing at the top of the Y. As the pair walks into the stem or chute or whatever you want to call the base of the Y the instructor indicates a direction for them to turn (I was mean and waited to the last reasonable second). The rider is then responsible for directing their horse in a controlled fashion out of the exercise in whichever way indicated. If the instructor doesn’t signal left or right that would mean continue walking forwards- which more than a few of the kids took as a opportunity to try and run me over.. classy guys- love you too. If I hold both my hands up, that obviously means stop or halt. As I expected they caught onto the basics of this at a walk and then a jog pretty quick, so, for an extra challenge I suggested they could try doing the exercise with no hands- only using their legs to direct their horse. Predictably many of them, when asked if this would also be simple, said “yeah I can totally do that, no problemo coach!” (Okay they didn’t say it with that enthusiasm, but I take it where I can okay). Also predictably, that’s not how it went. (mwahaha). It didn’t take long for them to realize that their legs weren’t as effective without the pull of their reins. Point for me. Shwing.

My goal with this exercise was to start them thinking about what their body is doing during different phases of riding. Because I thoroughly enjoy pushing my students, some may call it being mean (lol), I randomly through in a stop sign for them when they were working with no reins. Earlier in the lesson we had discussed how shifts in our body can help to influence our horse’s speed/direction/balance etc. So I wanted to see if they had been listening when we talked about a shift in our body backwards will signal to the horse to slow down or stop (when in conjunction with other aids of course). Well, they were listening all right. When I signalled stop- more then one of them definitely used their body weight to try and get a halt. It looked like they had pulled the lever on their recliner- legs stretched forward, leaning back, arms to the side- like it was the hour after thanksgiving and they were enjoying a post-feast chill out. A little bit over the top… apparently we forgot to talk about subtle changes in body position. I couldn’t help but laugh. It was an excellent chance for us to talk about what subtle means and why we don’t want to launch ourselves backwards in an attempt to stop our horse.

Many of these kids have no interest in competitive showing, some would like to do rodeo, others, and I quote, “just want to run”. Some are only there because their parents put them in 4H and they have to participate. All of that leads to them not really understanding how basic equitation/horsemanship skills are going to help them in whatever they are doing with their horses. You think you can run a barrel pattern with no leg control? No balance in your horses body? In your body? Some of them have been relying on spurs because their “legs get tired when they don’t wear them”. Luckily those who have been doing that are a bit more experienced so I fully plan on taking away their crutch and getting some muscle burn on. One of the parents after that lesson came up to me and commented that I was really emphasising working on legs. And she was right, that does seem to be an emerging theme. After talking to each individual and asking their goals, many of the answers were control and getting their horses to respond better. Where does that all stem from? The rider’s body. What is the base for the rider? Their legs. One of the best things for young riders, I think, is teaching body awareness. Knowing what your body is doing, and where it needs to be will clear up a lot of confusion between you and your horse. Communication is a lot easier when each individual knows where they stand.

Another challenge I threw in for those who were doing the no reins things pretty well was backing through the exercise- which was a pretty difficult thing for almost everyone. Backing up their horse for 4 steps in a straight line was difficult, let along through poles in different directions. But I have to give them all credit, they all tried it out and didn’t give up when it got hard. I could see them working so hard to listen to the guidance I was providing and put words to action in the saddle. One girl, who was only on her second ride back after coming off rehab for a broken leg (she is still trying to get the strength back on one side but is so determined to work through it and ride while working on her rehab), even tried the backing- which I didn’t expect at all, knowing it would be extra challenging for her not having nearly the same strength on her recovering leg. Nonetheless, she gave it a shot- and predictably the horse made a nice backwards circle in the direction she didn’t have as much leg power. She tried it again and again- each time taking a little more from the tips I was giving her from the top of the exercise. After 4 or 5 tries, when everyone else was through and done- I looked and saw her giving it one more try- this time she did it PERFECTLY. And the look on her face when she got through the end of the “Y” was probably the best thing I’ve seen in a long time. That look of accomplishment.

I hope she felt as proud as I did!

Saturday I rode both the boys again, Felix was great as usual and Willard and I finally were able to do course work without pretending it was race day. Not that he would know what that is. Unless it’s a innate TB things. There were a few jumps throughout our courses that were absolutely breathtaking. Charlene even exclaimed after them that they were phenomenal. Pretty inexplainable, but I’ll try anyway. Willard would leave the ground at the perfect place and I would feel is neck and shoulders round up to me while his back followed the arch over the jump. There was an extra second at the top of the arc where time just stood still and you could feel what perfection was. Literally breathtaking. If any of you other riders reading this have felt that, you’ll know what I mean. It’s those small moments that keep us hungry for more. Those are what get us addicted to this sport.

Sunday was spent with the Rance clan for a Mother’s day breakfast, after that the day was pretty straight forward. I went to work at the gym- where I actually got to do some training with a client, which was exciting! Unplanned, but young kids came in (their mom had just bought them memberships), and were trying out the gym. My boss soon realized that they had no supervision and just asked me to keep an eye on them while they were there as he was off for the day. They quickly came to me with questions and it turned into me working with them for about 40 minutes or so going through different exercises and keeping them at safe weight loads. It was so much fun!

Now here we are, another week is about to start- so I’ll leave you with some pictures of some yummy things I made this week, and me dead-lifting my PR of 170lbs!

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Sweet potato apple pork patties. SO GOOD.

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Mash up of everything good, in a ball.

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1 week (well, 6 days) and -6lbs later

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Willard says hello.

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And that he’s sorry for always being so dirty when I’m come to see him….. Right.

So it’s been 6 days now since I began the restricted diet of all restricted diets. Almost used to it now, managed to only drop about 6 or 7 lbs this week (I’m going to be some kind of unhappy if all the new clothes I just bought become to big after next week)..but let me tell you the first 3-4 days were pretty rough. It takes a couple rounds of the grocery store to adjust your self to finding things without sugar in them. OR dairy, gluten, or yeast for that matter.

This week has been a little insane anyway (what else is new). Two exams early in the week took up most of my focus (along with trying to find food in my cupboards that I could actually consume). Tuesday night was the first time I had a chance to grocery shop (had to make time as I realized driving home from the barn at 8pm that I had literally nothing I could eat- and this was after not really eating anything of substance for 6 hours) and it was an eye opener. For someone like me, who eats a pretty healthy diet- but relies on quick things to make, often finding food groups from fast sources, and has an deep love for KD, taking basically all those options away is like throwing a duck into a desert and telling it to find water. Okay, so that makes it sound awful. It wasn’t THAT bad. The fact that I was operating on an empty tank and in between exams probably didn’t help. Regardless, I was pretty lost in that grocery store. A friend gave me some good advice afterwards, which I learned quite quickly was pretty relevant.. “Stick to the outsides”. All the fresh (relative) veggies are on the outside. Which is a large portion of what I bought, and survived on this week.

Wednesday and Thursday went by pretty quickly. Wasn’t able to really make a real meal until late Thursday night. I started my full time job at MMSL Thursday, and barely made it through the day on what I had prepared to eat. My brain isn’t quite used to functioning on the rice crackers, veggies, and almond butter I was surviving on. Staring at spreadsheets and computer screens all day while taking in new information from my supervisors wiped me out by 11am. By the time I got out of the office and out to the barn that evening I was pretty much useless. The ride I did that night was pretty much me doing a lap of trotting and having to take a breather. Not myself at all. Thankfully I was able to get creative with some quinoa, farmers sausage, and veggies later that night. The only creative part, really, was making my own “pesto sister substance”. Olive oil, and some greek spices did the trick just fine!

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So good.

Since Thursday I’ve been getting along much better with meals. I cooked up a large amount of quinoa that night, which I’m able to concoct into many different things. Friday I created french toast style quinoa patties.

IMG_2643 If there is one meal I don’t have any problem with lately, it’s breakfast. Nobody has taken away my bacon. And Lord help them if they try. Usually I go for a 3-egg omelette bacon and spinach frittata/omelette type deal. This morning, since I had gone through all my eggs already, I got creative with some sweet potato, bacon, spinach, onions, and left over cinnamon quinoa.

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Speaking of bacon, I need to buy some more.

I love the food this diet forces me to eat. Building the habit of pre-planning a week of meals is the hardest thing for me. I’ve had numerous discussions with friends this week, at work and other places, who have given me tips on what and where to buy things, been able to relate with me as they are on similar restricted or paleo type diets, and given me some great ideas for things to cook and integrate into my already crazy busy lifestyle. For what I’ve lacked in gluten, dairy, yeast, and sugars this week- I’ve received ten-fold back in support from those around me. Which is awesome. And I love it.

As you probably have picked up from what I’ve already written about my experiences so far, it’s been kind of a roller coaster ride for my body. When I’m hungry, I get less of the usual stomach grumblies, and more of a major head ache and loss of all things concentration related. Shocking my body with a new, extreme, eating style the same week as two exams and starting a new full-time job, taking shifts at the gym, maintaining my usual work outs and riding schedule…Probably not the greatest idea in hindsight.  The first 4 days I was in a zombie fog. Fatigue like I’ve never experienced. Some of those fun symptoms like cramping, lack of appetite, and nausea as well, which Dr. Shrayder said may come out to play the first couple weeks, but nothing really. Thankfully between shifts this weekend I’ve been able to catch up on sleep and calories. Starting to feel way better.. Not completely firing on all cylinders yet though- just directed a very male client to the very female change room- luckily whatever cylinder that was kicked in BEFORE he opened the door. I’m 20 years old and I still mix up my right and my left. Terrifying.

Today before work I went a did some (still have more to do) shopping for the next week or so. Where I used to spend max $50 a week on groceries.. this week I’m already over the $100 range. And that’s still me being skimpy. I’m hoping once I get the basics I need for some of the recipes and meals (coconut everything (oil, flour, etc), beans, nuts, spices, and more), that I can get my budget down a bit again. Regardless, it’s a good thing I have a few different sources of income for the summer. Besides MMSL, and MORfit, I also agreed to coach the Graysville Light Horse 4H club this year. So starting next week I’ll be working with those kids for a few months. Also hoping to do some private lessons again this year on the side.

I’m actually kind of loving the challenge all this is giving me. Hopefully it will get a little less exhausting as I get more into the habits. I’m getting to exercise my creativity in the kitchen (as my mom will tell you I am the worst at actually following recipes) by making up things as I go half the time. This is forcing me to build those skills, and habits to live the kind of lifestyle I’ve been headed towards anyway. As I’ve told many people this week- this is just life shoving me off the cliff putting things like this off. It’s not like I was going to get less busy this summer and suddenly have time to make a change in my lifestyle. There is only one way for me to do this sort of thing- and that is to just do it.

Since I’m risking being long-winded here.. I’ll end with some pictures from throughout the week!

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Carrot at the end of the stick

“You’ve got that ‘march glaze’ about your eyes.. its that time of year for you students”

Yep.

Talk to any student right now and they’ll either give you a zombie-like reply and/or mumble something about “only 3 weeks left.. so close”. I know pretty much all my peers, as well as myself, are pretty much over the whole classes, assignment, school idea.

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Totally burned more calories on my run then are in this dish…. Totally.

It carries over to other things as well- like running. Tonight, for instance, the only reason I convinced myself that doing my run was a good idea was by bribing myself with cake and ice cream. Productive? No, not really. But, hey, it worked. And it was better than sitting on the couch and eating cake anyway. Right?

But in all seriousness- I’ve been working really hard at keeping my motivation levels up. 2 weeks ago now I started a self-designed “pre-show season bootcamp”, which I have been sticking to as best I can. I’ve been putting all the fitness programming knowledge I’ve learnt this year into action (anybody want a trainer?), and feeling the results. In a good way! Since I’ve made so much progress with my back and hip issues- much thanks to the great AT/Chiro that helped me get on this track, Dr. Notley – I want to go into this season as best prepared as I can to not back track. There is definitely some fear there that it will all kick up again as soon as I start riding full time- but I’m trying to keep my thoughts trained on the fact that I’m in great shape and stronger then I’ve ever been. And if it does, then I know how to work through it. Anybody who has had a lingering injury will know how tough that can be sometimes. If you’re interested in seeing some of my workout plans, I post them all on my Fitness Log, so feel free to take a look!

It’s been a pretty quiet few weeks for me, school wise. Well. Relatively speaking of course. It’s kind of the quiet before the storm. The storm being finals. The quiet being me still running around 6 days a week not knowing what I’m doing half the time. But hey, I’ll take it. The last big project I worked on and finished (B), was a group presentation on “Norms in Athletic Therapy” for psych skills in sport and life. Past being frustrated with my fellow group members for most of it (apparently none of them had really done a presentation or public speaking before…(thank you 4H)), it was a pretty fun project. Instead of sticking to boring classic research for our references- we decided to interview two practicing ATs from the community and use their answers to support our points. Norms was a pretty tough concept for us to present- and there were definitely aspects we lost marks on because of that. Norms are the things you do in life, but don’t think about really.. ever. For an AT it would be something like showing up before a practice, having a certain set of personality characteristics (naturally or taught), or being the type of person people are comfortable talking to. Its things that aren’t in the code of conduct, but things that are often past down through peers or teachers you have along the way. What norms do you have in your career, or daily life? In groups/organizations you are a part of?

The next big paper I’m writing is on (hopefully anyway, proposing the idea to my prof tomorrow) the Canadian Eq. Team and the Tiffany Foster situation at the olympics- mainly on how Eric Lamaze and the other members of the team reacted relating to the topic of “leadership” in sport. Should be a pretty interesting topic, I think!

In health news I’ve finally got a date with a specialist… unfortunately not for another month or so- which I guess isn’t bad for wait time. I’ve also started looking into seeing a naturopathic doctor- so here’s where I ask you lovely readers- does anyone know of good names in Winnipeg?

As I alluded to in the opening paragraphs- I’m in the homestretch for the semester. What’s my “carrot at the end of the stick”? Besides cake.. it’s getting on my horse and starting spring training! Everyday I get through is one day close to riding season. Assuming I can get my saddle on the white buffalo…

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Do what you love. Find it. Do it well. If you don’t know how to do it, learn. Know that it will rough you up a few times, and occasionally bring you to tears. Do it anyway, to the best of your ability. You’ll have no other choice. There is no end- only the journey. It will be a long one- but know this: You will be forever changed.

Aside

Full speed ahead

Over and over again the past couple weeks I’m being reminded that I’m right where I’m supposed to be. Last year at this point in time I was getting off a plane across the world- starting one crazy adventure, and now another one is starting. Or maybe the first never ended.

Four days after I was released from my latest hospital visit (update on that: booked for surgery in December to have my appendix out..), I started back at school. I love love love it. As many of my friends will tell you, I am fully embracing my inner nerd. I don’t think I’ve ever been this focused on school, or enjoyed studying this much. There is only one courses I find utterly boring (stats, yuck), but it is mandatory for my degree so I’m stuck with it. Hopefully I can remember how to do math. My birthday was spent in class from 10am-9pm, but was ended with an awesome roommate who had homemade cupcakes, drinks, and candles lit for when I got home after that long day. The following few days were spent with some good friends who I hadn’t spent time with in forever, and the weekend ended with a great supper at my Grandparents, which was perfect.

 

As I start this new school year, I’m so far doing quite good at not looking at the assignments and studying looming ahead and absolutely losing it. To be honest, I’m terrified by all this. School, my goals, plans, etc. But from that I know that I’m in the right place. Without that terrified feeling, I wouldn’t have the motivation to work as hard as I’ll need to. And I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by people who will only help me stay on track. I’ve been shown too many times this year who is behind me when I’m thrown one of life’s great curveballs. Although baseball has never been my sport, I’ve also shown myself that I am capable of taking a lot and still coming out the other side stronger then before (maybe not always physically, though). Thankfully my batting skills are starting to improve, as I’ve been getting a lot of those curveballs lately- and they don’t seem to be slowing down.

As you can probably tell, my life revolves around school right now. But.. whats new besides school? Let’s see. I’m no longer a teenager, and I actually forgot about my own birthday until a couple days before. I’m living full time in the city now, and loving it. I’m back into a regular work out schedule, and can’t get enough of it. I’m blessed enough to have amazing employers who are giving me work that fits around my insane school schedule, oh, and I’m getting another dose of radiation tomorrow as my foot gets x-rayed for possible stress fractures (remember that fall I had at Fall Harvest? Yeah…). It never ends with me.. But it could be worse. I think I must be on my second set at least of “bad things come in 3’s” so maybe this will be it for a while!

Speaking of which, Monday morning is on its way and I am nowhere near ready yet. All the fun of this weekend is catching up on me, so it’s time for some shut eye so this week doesn’t completely wipe me. More later!

Just in time

I’ve broken my record for length between posts, I think. Which must mean my life is finally getting back on track (insanely busy)!

It’s been just over a month now since “the surgery”, and I’m finally almost back to normal. I’m done dressing changes, and although there is still some healing needing to be done- I’m pretty much able to forget about it and just let it happen. Which is good, because that means I can ride! Yesterday was my first real ride back since surgery, and I haven’t been that happy in a long time! Willard has been moved to McMullans for the week as we’re planning on going to Fall Harvest this weekend. Yes, a show right after a month off- an excellent plan, isn’t it? Any other year I might not have felt comfortable doing this, but this year I have complete faith in my horse and our ability that this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. And here is where I need to say a HUGE thank you to my friend and fellow rider Laura Clark, who rides at Bluebear and also hails from Carman. She has been coming and hacking Willard for me over the past month and after riding him tonight in the ring I was so happy to find he was moving beautifully and so willing to do lateral work. Like I never got off! I knew he would be in good  hands with her. So, Laura if you read this, thank you thank you thank you!  It’s great to know my horse is in relative condition even when I’ve been unable to ride for a while.

I rode for about an hour and a half yesterday, and an hour today- I just couldn’t bring myself to get off. Even though my body has gotten a little too used to the easy life. I’ve been slowly trying to add things to my schedule, like work outs and now riding, plus work- and soon school again. 2 months ago it was easy to do all of those things in one day and still have energy at the end of the day. Now, it’s a little more challenging. I’m still trying to find the energy I used to have. I’m sure it will come back, I’m not really giving it a choice. Hopefully over the next couple weeks, as my schedule starts to pick up again I will feel back to normal. School is only a couple weeks away!!! I can’t believe how excited I am! Before I started this post I had my nose stuck in one of my texts already. Wonder how long this will last? Haha

My class schedule is pretty full. Actually, it is completely full. I have 10 courses, my 5 for the fall are: Nutrition, Biomechanics, Data Analysis, Anatomy and Physiology, and Scientific Principles of Fitness and Conditioning. Following those, with my AP running all year, are: Intro Kinesiology, Research Methods, Prevention and Care of Injuries, and Psych in Sport and Life. It’s definitely going to be a challenging year, to say the least. To add onto my school schedule, I plan on riding and working as well. Although fall has some of my tougher courses, I think it will be the easier term, schedule wise as most days all my classes are in the afternoons- so I’ll have most mornings and evenings free to work and ride and study. The winter term things get a little crazier with courses spanning from late morning to evening classes plus a Saturday class- which means I’ll be in school 6 days a week. Unfortunately this was the only way I could schedule things so I got into all my classes and labs, so it will have to do! The past week or so has been a flurry of me organizing text books, gym memberships, locker rentals, and everything in between. Thankfully most of that is done now and I can focus on Fall Harvest, and then finish moving things to the city and settle in there. As much as I’ve been pretty stressed lately, it’s all for the right reasons and I’m very excited to face the challenges that come up this year in school. I proved to myself in Anatomy this spring that I can get decent grades if I work hard at it, so I hope I can continue proving that to myself in the future. That B was definitely not easy for me, but it was such an accomplishment when I got it! I still stop and wonder sometimes why I chose this path. What is someone who has always drifted towards arts and never did well in sciences doing in a Bachelor of Science degree in one of the most challenging specialities?! At the same time, I can’t see myself doing anything else. And the more I talk to other people in the profession, the more I fall in love with it.

That’s all I’ve got for now, I’m exhausted! Here are a couple pictures from my ride on Sunday- and I hope I write again soon! There will definitely be a Fall Harvest update!

MS River Rouge cruise!

Roomies!

Intro to Summer

As usual the past few weeks have been a blur. Between studying for exams, showing, working, and finally writing exams- I’m now realizing I feel quite lost not having anything to study for.. until September anyway. I’ve filled that gap by trying to plan out my courses for next year. A task that is actually impossible, seeing as I’ve been given a VERY late registration date because somebody in the office screwed up and lost my paperwork along the way, so most of the sections I’m hoping to get into will most likely be full by the time I register, which means I’ll be rearranging this schedule a thousand times over no doubt. Luckily, I have a friend on the inside (my AT) who is always there to help pick the right courses and answer any questions! Can we say hero?

As you may recall, I was at Summer Smiles horse show over the past weekend, and it was definitely summery and full of smiles! I got into Winnipeg from Regina at 8am (getting up at 3:30am was really fun), and made a fast transition from half asleep, grody commuter to semi-awake student and managed to get to the University by 9am to catch my last review lab. After that I had a quick study date at Olive Garden with my favourite study buddy Michelle, and then squeezed in a quick nap before heading out to BHP for warm ups. Because my mom is awesome, my horse was already there and all I had to do was check in at the show office, put numbers on tack, and head out to the ring. Will was a star, very concurrent to how he’s been all spring. So after going over a few jumps, having pizza with Mike and Charlene and a few others from the barn, braiding, and making sure everything was good to go for the morning- I made it back to my apartment, only almost falling asleep on the way back to the city a couple times. Back at the park for Day 1 by 7:30, I quickly realized that Mr. Willard had waaaaay too much energy for the hunter ring, or any ring. So, since I had hours to spare, I set about working his energy levels down. Generally I’ll hack for about half an hour on show mornings. I spent an hour and a half on him that morning, and believe me- one of us was worn out. Nevertheless, it was the right choice- as he was perfect for all our rounds that day! We won our 2’9″ Jr/Amateur class, and placed top 5 in all our Sr. Low rounds. Mike summed it up perfectly later that day by saying “you have to do what’s necessary to be successful”, so if that means spending almost two hours hacking- it’s worth it. My original plan for this weekend was to spend the extra time I always have at shows studying and reviewing for exams. I have no idea why I thought that was going to work. I really tried hard on Saturday to focus on studying, but when I’m in horse show mode- trying to memorize the origin, insertion, actions, and innervation of the pectineus muscle just doesn’t work out. Plus I was extremely tired. So I decided to give up on the day time studying, and focus on studying after the show day was over. Again, why would I think that would work? By the time I got back to my place at 7:30pm, I sat down to study and woke up an hour later with metal ring imprints across my cheek from passing out across my notebook. After that I decided I should maybe just go to bed, at 8pm. That 14 hrs of sleep was worth it though, Sunday was another great day, without excess energy thankfully. We pulled off a reserve champion in the Jr/Amateur Division, and again top 5 placings in the 3ft classes. I even had enough left in the tank to do a little studying that night.

Patti, Charlene, Alison, and I rushing to wait some more..

Monday morning began with the last quiz of the course, and it went very well! That gave me a little bit of confidence to roll with for the exams on Wednesday and Thursday. The bell ringer on Wednesday wasn’t my best work, I don’t think anyway, but Thursdays written portion felt really good. Either way, I’m done for a couple months! Now what?

On Tuesday this week, I had my second consult with a sports med regarding the old reoccurring back injury that never seems to leave and also opinions on if and how the cyst on my tailbone could be affecting it. A couple weeks ago I had a consult with a doctor at Pan Am, on the same thing, who x-rayed my back and found nothing and ordered a MRI which I’m booked for later in July. She was pretty unhelpful, in the sense that she couldn’t really give a definitive answer to anything I was asking other then saying that the pilonidal sinus could be related, but there were too many factors to be sure, and that SI joints are tricky and the best thing she could suggest is cortisone shots and discussing other invasive treatments outside of the therapy I’m already doing.  The doctor I saw this week, at Legacy, is also very interested in seeing the MRI and hopes to be able to give me a better answer after those results. Although his initial diagnosis, without the MRI results, isn’t the best (mechanical back pain, likely chronic), he seemed pretty proactive and willing to help me try out more treatment options such as acupuncture/dry needling to go along side therapy – seeing as I’ve tried everything else. My AT, who I trust more then anyone, is thinking that this upcoming surgery on the cyst is going to make a big difference. There is a structural problem that keeps reoccurring, and we can’t quite figure out why. Basically what happens is my SI joint slips out of place, causing the left part of my pelvis to rotate funny- in turn causing lower back muscles, hip, and thigh muscles to do really painful things. Bending over lots is usually what really sets it off, which is a good reason that I’m no longer working in the manual labour field- because that’s all I was doing. As much as I’m frustrated that nothing is fixing this problem long term, I’m very glad I have such a talented AT on my side- keeping me functioning and somewhat sane.

And so now I get to enjoy 2 weeks of summer before I go under the knife and spend most of July recovering. I’m loving my new job, although it’s quite a transition going from outdoor work to a office job. What’s on my list of things to do during the next two weeks?

1. Ride (duh), as much as possible! I had an awesome ride tonight, even though it was nothing more then a simple hack in the ring here at home. It was one of those rides where I felt completely ‘in the zone’ the whole time, and like my horse could read my thoughts, and I his. Every rider will know that feeling, and know how great (and addicting) it is. With the MHJA Beach Party show approaching this coming weekend- I’m grateful for every ride I have like this. There is no better feeling then feeling that focused in competition!

I’ve also been coaching a local girl for a few weeks now, and I’m loving watching her progress! It’s a great challenge for me trying to explain the simplest parts of riding to someone who doesn’t necessarily understand them yet. It’s not always easy to explain something that has become second nature to you. I’m getting better at it though, and by the improvements I see every week in my student- she is understanding at least some of what I say! I’m happy that at least if I can’t be riding most of the summer, I can be helping someone else build skills in the sport!

2. Run, bike, plank, push up, pull up, lunge, squat, lift, press, work out! I’m seriously going to miss the gym, almost as much as I’ll miss riding during recovery time. The changes I’ve seen in myself over the past 6-8 weeks of consistent training are amazing, and I am so excited to get back into it as soon as I can.

3. Work. Because my student life has taken a serious tole on my bank account. The fact that I’ve been in between pay cheques for quite a while now doesn’t help either. Luckily for me, my next pay cheque should come through.. right after surgery. So my two weeks of real summer will be spent doing the cheapest activities I can find. AKA, hanging out with my parents.. a lot 🙂

All that makes for a very, very busy couple weeks. But, I usually function better when I’m kept busy- so I’m glad for that! There will certainly be some crazy days, where I’m not quite sure how the schedule is going to fit. Example being, next thursday when I have my pre-op/anesthesiologist appts all afternoon at Boundary Trails in Winkler, and then warmups at the RRX grounds in Winnipeg. Everything always works out though, in the end- so all I can do is keep right on going- one day at a time.

Somebody told them they could grow up, graduate, and make me feel old!