Weekend Warrior

I am a weekend warrior!  This weekend has been very full, and it’s not even lunchtime on Sunday yet!  But I am taking a short break to share… It’s as good of a time as any to stop and have a cuppa! 🙂

After work, I had a riding lesson with Chris, who just got back from a 15 day horse back riding adventure across the outback.  It sounded marvellous!  I would like to do something like that one day!

So anyway, as you know, TK has been spelling for two weeks on doctor’s orders (and a little longer than that on my laziness and poor scheduling), and has been feeling very frisky.  So I wanted to start at ground zero with him, and make sure he’s really got his basics mastered.

My first endurance ride is in 30ish days and I have two basic objectives for training prior to the ride:

  1. Complete control of the speed of travel
  2. Management of behaviour when facing a challenging situation (I would not presuppose to ever have complete control of this!)
With these two ideas in mind, we started with some English basics.  First lunging him with contact to teach him to lower his head and soften into the bit, rather than fight it, and to gain impulsion through the hind end.  This helps build ‘topline’ or translated into human fitness, it means ‘good alignment or posture’. 
For all his friskiness in the paddock, in the round yard TK is quite lazy!
At the end of the lunging session I got on and started to work on managing my hand position and encouraging a forward walk and trot – thereby controlling his speed – and discovered that it was way harder than it sounded.

My legs run out of kick long before TK runs out of lazy.

So, although I have not had to use one on any horse I’ve owned before, I have agreed that I will carry a crop with him.  Not for a beating or anything like that, but for a smack on the shoulder to remind him that he is to do what I ask, and thereby not exhausting myself.

He will get a few days of 30 minute sessions of lunging and short rides, and then we’ll start heading out again to build long slow distances.

I am hoping that Lauren will be willing to ride him two days a week.  Or more to the point, I am hoping I can afford to pay her to ride him two days a week! She just got back from two weeks away, so will give her the weekend and bring it up with her on Monday.  I hope to ride him another two days a week: Friday lessons and a Saturday or Sunday distance ride.

I had to work Saturday morning, and it was quite a nice day of work.  A bit quieter than I usually like, because then you’re looking for things to do, but not too bad most of the time.

After work I stopped by Helen & Carl’s for a cuppa and to pick up the tent I bought off them, and then headed back to work, where I went for a run on the treadmill.

I put on a heart rate monitor strap and I set the hill program for 95 minutes (the longest program it has) and for level 5 and started to go at it!  I was running a bit slower than I normally do, but then again, I was running at an average grade of 2.8%, and each timeblock was 5 minutes, so when it got up to 5% grade, I was there uphill for 5 minutes!  And the program won’t let you adjust your incline, only your speed.  So, I was working between 8 and 9km/hr depending on my incline, and after about 45 minutes I decided to slow down to a walk, and you would not believe what happened!!

I bumped the emergency stop button!!

There’s nothing you can do to recover your data, time, speed, distance, nothing, when you hit that button.  It’s GONE. And so I stood there swearing at the machine while I tried to reset it, tried to remember how far I had gone and how long… the last time I looked at the display I had gone about 6.7km and had about 42 minutes to go… so frustrating!  Anyway, I fired it back up and went for only another 30 minutes and got to about 10km and hopped off.

The neat thing about having the heart rate strap on was noticing how long I could work on the top end of my cardio zone, I was quite comfortable there in the mid 160s (~85%) for long stretches, 15-20 minutes easily, before I started to creep into the lower levels of my max zone (~90% or 166-170bpm).  Even in my max zone, 5 minutes wasn’t impossible before having to back down a little.  I was planning on bringing the heart rate strap and watch with me on the bike ride, but just plumb forgot!

After my run I stopped for a brief visit to T&E who were away for a month, are back for the weekend and away again on Monday for an unknown time.  Got home, showered, made dinner, baked banana bread, made three loaves of bread and still got to bed by 9:30 because I was tired and because I wanted to be well rested for the big ride on Sunday.

It’s always surprising to be up in the dark.  It’s an odd feeling, like you’re one of the few people alive, when you are awake at 5:30am. Anyway, I got myself decked out for the cold ride ahead, and headed off to meet everyone at TDG for 6:30am start.  I got there and decided right then that I had chosen the wrong gloves.  I had travelled 2km and my fingers were frozen.  I zipped home and got big happy thinsulate gloves and met everyone without delaying the ride too much.

It got really light by 7am, and it wasn’t as cold as it has been. It was a bright clear morning, and really quite pleasant. It’s a bit hard to know if you’ve dressed right sometimes, but I was mostly comfortable for the ride most of the time, and grateful for the extra layers, especially when we headed downhill into the low wet valleys – man it was COLD down there!  My hands did get sweaty a few times, but I was grateful for those gloves.  Especially when considering how cold my feet were, and they were in big fuzzy socks!  I’m glad just my feet were suffering!

There were lots of hard climbs, and I wasn’t going very fast, but I had told Carl prior to the ride I was expecting to do a 20km/hr average.  He didn’t believe me at first, and expected that I could work at around 25, but indeed, there I was, working to my maximum, at quite a slow pace. It took me 1 hour 55 minutes and change to do the 42km trek, and I had an average of 21.4, which I was quite happy with. I was only about 5-10 minutes behind the pack, I was really expecting to be much slower!  Yay me! Doing better than I hoped!

Mat came and picked me up, because all the rest were crazy enough to ride back home!  I was done. No, I wasn’t done done, but I would have been MUCH slower to make it back home, especially with the wind picking up.  By the time I neared Katanning again, I would have been completely destroyed.

Upon returning home I showered, started to make breakfast, and was interrupted with a wood delivery, so started stacking wood, then remembered I had a pan on the stove, and came in to a house full of smoke!  Oh man! luckily, no real harm done, just a very charred bottom of my frying pan!  Lots of laundry, dishes, sweeping and mopping to do, and a fire to start.

But my next big priority will be to dress TK and take him for a spin in the round yard and practice our lessons.

Well, maybe a nap should come first?! 🙂


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