Some Random Pixio GIFs

I can't remember why I pulled these GIFs from a schooling ride a few weeks ago.  I meant to blog with them about something specific, but I've slept since then.

Probably comparing warm up Connor with working Connor.  My life's goal is still trying to figure out how to get this horse on my aids before minute 40 of a ride.  He goes from feeling like a pile of parts rolling around the arena that I can't sit properly on, to feeling like a machine I can manipulate with the lightest aids. #itsajourney

I do think it's related to my position, but it's a chicken-and-egg thing: I struggle to sit well on him when he feels like he does at the beginning of every ride, but he needs me to sit better on him before he gets out of that stage.

Just got on - a little less march than I usually ask for at first
TL;DR minutes 1-39

The very end of that ride


Figuring Out a Schedule

With starting CrossFit again and having Connor close while working out for the first time, I've struggled to figure out a weekly schedule. 

Have some random photos from the past few months.  National historic landmark modernist church, famous outdoor sculpture, temporary Exhibit Columbus art installation, all in a plaza created by the Washington Mall architect, taken on our tipsy walk home from dinner.  #notyouraveragesmalltown

For the five years I did both, Connor lived so far away it was impossible to do both CrossFit and ride on the same night, so I alternated nights.  And now that he's close, I'm not willing to give up my increased number of rides per week I've gotten used to since I moved him.

Our old, old man.

Doing both on a weeknight is doable, but puts me getting home pretty late.  It's also challenging to go immediately from an intense workout to riding, and requires I eat something in between.

And since CrossFit is class based, I have to work around their class offerings, which are sometimes not what I want them to be (cough cough, looking at you, Wednesdays).

6pm shoots my whole night in the foot.
So, this is what I finally came up with.  We'll see if it works.

Monday: 5pm Crossfit, ride (The only night of the week I have to do both back to back)
Tuesday: Ride (lesson)
Wednesday: 6pm CrossFit
Thursday: Ride
Friday: ????  (I always say I'm going to do something, and then my husband puts a cocktail in my hand at 5:01pm and I end up hanging out with him instead.)
Saturday: 10am CrossFit, ride
Sunday: Ride


La Mundials

Tis the buy yourself stuff!

My $50 eBayed Ariat Heritage Contour field boots continue to cut off my circulation if I wear them for more than 15 minutes, but I put up with that for the last...six years? because I only wear them to show in.

#passable.  PC: Lisa Brezina
If I unzip the right one during warmup (my calves are dramatically different sizes after I got kicked in the knee while riding in 2007), zip it for my test, AND don't work out for a couple days before a show, they're fine.

Oh and unzip it as soon as humanly possible after our test. PC: My mom

But if the right pair came along for the right price I wouldn't say no, which is why I've had a standing eBay search for "6 dressage boots" for a long time.  Like, years.

So that's how this happened:

First "nice" pair of tall boots ever, after a pair of Devon Aires and the Ariats.

Someone was selling a "worn ten times" pair of La Mundials in my size for $140 shipped last week.   Used boots are hard to resell, but at that price if they didn't work out I felt I could definitely turn a small profit on them if I had to.

But I don't think I'll have to.  They're a perfect fit in almost every way, except the calf which is a smidge big, especially on my small calf. Not so much to where it matters though.  I figure maybe I'll bring them to Rolex-not-Rolex where LM always has a booth and see if they can do something about it.

And, by that time I'll have been working out again for six months, so my calves might grow by then anyway.

 They may not be as stiff as some hardcore Dressage boots, but they're stiff enough to stand up on their own without a tree.

Spanish top for the first time in my life!
Here's to show boots that won't leave my feet numb!


Fitness Friday: Falling Off the Wagon

Megan's post from Wednesday gave me the kick in the pants I needed to finally write this post.

After being in sports/in shape my whole life, and after doing CrossFit for six years straight, I stopped altogether in October of 2016.  I had been losing my passion for it for a while, and then Nicole went through some personal things, moved a couple hours away and closed the gym.

After qualifying for the Games the second time.

I didn't realize until she was gone how much she meant to me, and that she was a big part of the reason I did CrossFit.  It hit me especially hard because I've always struggled to make deep connections with my female peers, but she is a rare exception.  She jokes that I can read her mind.

Media day the first year at the Games

After Nicole left, my gymmates got together and reopened the gym with all the same people in the same place 6 blocks from my house, but with brand new Rogue equipment (most of our old stuff was from garage sales, Craigslist and high schools upgrading their weight rooms).  For almost a year, every time I thought about going back without Nicole, I teared up.  None of it felt right.

CrossFit Open, 2013

So I didn't go and I didn't guilt trip myself over it.  I rode more than I ever have and made more progress with Connor than I ever have.  I spent a lot of time with Nick.  I relaxed a lot and felt less overscheduled.  I worked on the house.  I slept in on Saturdays.  I flung myself head first into my job.  I kept my weight in check with diet, cutting carbs if I felt the pounds creep on.

By the fall of 2017, it had been a year since I had last worked out, and I was starting to get tired enough of being weak and fluffy that getting back under a barbell seemed appealing.  Then during a visit to Nicole's new town in September, we promised each other that she would work on relaxing (something she's terrible at) if I would go back to the gym, and I finally went back in October of 2017.

For my first class, I asked one of my closest CrossFit friends to pick me up and drive me the 6 blocks to the gym so I couldn't back out.  It was pretty emotional, but once the class got rolling, I felt like I had come home.  It'll never be the same as it was before, but it doesn't have to be.

March of 2012: Vibrams, a garage sale'd men's bar, and our homemade rig and boxes

Now that I'm back, I'm starting over fitness-wise, and I didn't really expect this, but I'm having more fun with it than I was when I was in shape.  There's no pressure to be top in the class when you're focusing on good form with light weights, building a good foundation and avoiding rhabdo.  It's just fun.

[Rhabdomyolysis is nowhere near as big of a deal in CrossFit as some people make it out to be, but "former athlete" is one of the strongest risk factors for it, because your brain remembers how to embrace pain and intensity, but your body isn't ready for that.  So I'm being extra careful right now and unapologetically scaling the heck out of everything.]

August of 2012

The biggest lesson I got out of this whole thing is that CrossFit is what works for me and I just need to embrace that.  I have a whole gym in my garage and two decades of sports training information in my head, and I still won't work out by myself.

Classes, coaches, teammates and a prescribed workout work for me.  All I have to do is sign up and show up - which as I found out over the last year, showing up is sometimes harder than any workout could be.


Lesson Wrap-Up: First Jumps in a Year

Even though Connor and I are more or less retired from eventing above Starter, that doesn't mean I don't want to occasionally jump him for fun and variety.

This was supposed to be a really fun post with all kinds of GIFs of Connor's first time jumping in maybe a year, but the video camera stopped recording 2 minutes and 55 seconds into my ride.  (Pixio kept going, the Sony HandyCam stopped).  So all I have is free walk warmup shots for media:

Look, there are jumps, in the ring!

The main takeaways were:
- We're still not cut out for jumping.  He's always going to go over, but he still wants to put his nose down and check everything out before takeoff the first time he jumps it.

- But that doesn't mean we don't have fun doing it over safe heights where the sticks fall down.

- Dressage is giving us a lot more tools to improve the jumping.

- Jump saddles feel like a foreign country to me now.  And my leg has gotten SO much longer since the days when I rode 24/7 in my jump saddle.  Even my old "Dressage length" feels short.

Honestly, it went better than I was expecting. He was ho-hum about it and not crazy like I was expecting.  Also, he was I think a bit sore from a really good Dressage ride the day before, so we took that into consideration and kept it easy and short.  We got him warmed up and supple and then did singles and a couple of courses, all really small stuff.  It definitely took some time to get our sea legs back as far as angles, approaches and eradicating some wicked drift go, but it was fun.

It's definitely something I should incorporate more into our schedule.


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