Monday, August 26, 2013

Oops, I did it again...

I'm not entirely sure how this keeps happening, but I am apparently running a half marathon on September 28th. It's the Hogsback Half Marathon which benefits Running for Rescues. I was pretty sure after the bitter cold NYC half in March I was all done with long distance running. But I cave easily to peer pressure. Also, it's fair season in the Northeast which means I'll be eating a lot of garbage. Since I'm not willing to give that up, running seems like a necessary evil. Plus, check out what we get for finishing the race:
This is the finisher medal!

This is a mock up of the t-shirt, except the actual shirt is a tech shirt AND long sleeved! Whoa.
As a result of this rash decision, I am on the accelerated training plan. It's similar to last year's when I decided semi-last minute to run the Niantic Bay half. Thus, this past week was my first of six weeks of race training. Three miles with the girls (and some pups!) on Tuesday:
We ran 4 together on Thursday minus Katie who had to be at work at 6 am (I'm not sure how that's legal). And then we split up into pairs for our weekend 6 miler since we had conflicting schedules. I did my 6 with Katie (visit her blog) on Saturday. Part of our run was in the woods since it was 2 PM, sunny, and pretty warm. The shade was well received! Also since we're accelerating our training, it's nice to have an excuse for not being fast (uneven terrain, lots of hills) other than just being out of shape...
Ideally, when training for a long distance race, I like to run either 3, 4, or 5 miles twice during the week (most often a 3 and a 4), and then a long run during the weekend. Each week the long run gains a mile. But since we are a little behind on our training, this time around our long run will gain 1.5 miles each week.
Hopefully this week goes as smoothly as last! Do you have a race coming up? How's your training going?

Monday, August 19, 2013


August really has been an amazing month for this amateur. Some big changes, some small changes, and lots of overall general greatness!

General Greatness:
I blogged already about my trip to VT with two of my equine. The trip only got better from the last post, as my horses went like champs the second week! They both brought home lots of great ribbons, but that's just a bonus. They went so well, I couldn't find enough treats to reward them with! Good boys!
Small changes:
Notice that amazing looking granite behind those ribbons? Yep, that's right, I came home from my trip to find those gorgeous counters installed! The kitchen isn't quite done, but it's almost there! Here are some photos:

I can't wait to see what it looks like with cabinet doors... I also can't wait to have the entire contents of my kitchen off my dining room floor and in said cabinets where it all belongs! All in good time I'm sure...
Big Changes:
I welcomed a new family member when I returned home from VT. That's a BIG change for sure!
His name is Arthur Fonzarelli. He's 3 years old, part pug and part something else (not sure what). He's 18lbs of happy dog! He came from Double Dog Rescue. He was found as a stray in Alabama, went to a shelter that has a high put-down rate, and was rescued by Double Dog and transferred to CT. He is a GREAT dog! Already house trained, loves to play with toys, loves to give kisses, and (most importantly) respects Pia and her personal space. I'm not sure if P is super happy about the addition, but she seems to be coping at least.

 Rough life they lead, huh?
Double Dog Rescue is a great organization if you're looking to bring a new friend into the family. Check out their website if you're interested! The process was really easy, and they only want what's best for the dogs. If things don't work out for ANY REASON, they will take the dog back and place him/her in foster care until a new home comes along..

A little more overall greatness:
This is a biggie for me. This past weekend was the CHJA Medal Finals.
For my non-equine readers, I'll give a little insight into what that means. First off, this is judged on my riding, and what I look like on my horse. So my horse's form isn't judged necessarily, but if I don't do a good job, neither will he. So really it all counts. The finals are split into different age groups. I was in the older adult section. To qualify for the finals, riders need to accumulate 12 points in the CHJA medal class which is held throughout the year at horse shows in CT. I showed in the class two times this year, and was second both times, resulting in my 12 points. I chose to take Rio to finals because he's the most experienced of my horses.
The final consists of up to 3 phases. First we are given a course of 10 jumps to navigate. There are two judges, and together they give you one score. After my course, I was given a 79.5. This is an OK score generally, but the class was not scored particularly high. After everyone had jumped, the high score was only an 86. This put me in 5th place after the first phase.
Phase 2 is a flat class. Which means the top 12 riders (there were 18 at the start this year) all return to the ring at once to show together without jumping. We show at the walk, trot, and canter both directions. After this flat phase, the top 4 are called back for more testing. I knew I was fifth coming back to flat, so I waited anxiously to see if I would be called back to test. And I WAS! I only moved up one place, so I was in 4th going to the test.
Phase 3 is the test. They generally have you test in reverse order, meaning the lowest rank goes first. That was me. This is actually a good position for me, I hate waiting around. The test was fairly simple. Canter directly to fence 8, trot fence 5, canter fences 1 and 7 and return to line. Rio was PERFECT for the test. Good boy! I watched the other three go, each with a little mistake. But had no idea where I'd be at the end of it.
Once the test is complete, the top 12 are all called back into the ring for presentations. They do this in reverse order too. I was ready to collect my white (4th place) ribbon, but it wasn't my number they called. WHOA! Top three! Again I was ready for the 3rd place ribbon, but that wasn't me either! I finished up in the second position. AMAZING! So proud of my Rio. I really feel like I can't take any credit, he's THAT wonderful! Sorry for all of the rambling, but this is a huge deal for me! Generally, I hold my own in the ring, but a top 2 finish at finals was not something I ever expected. I shall leave you with some photos from the day, including all the awesome swag they give to the second place finisher!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ahhhhhh.... Vacation.

I've been on vacation since Thursday. And by vacation, I mean two of my horses and I are in VT enjoying some beautiful scenery and doing a little horse showing too.  It is GLORIOUS!
Not very impressive prizes week one, but the boys were very well behaved!
The first few days were pretty busy. Jamp showed Thursday when we arrived, and Rio showed Friday and Saturday. Sunday wound up being a day off for us as was Monday. Tuesday is warm up day at the horse show, but since my boys don't really need to practice a whole lot, we just went out for an easy workout on the flat. More of that today (Wednesday). I think tomorrow will be a lesson for Jamp and one last easy ride for Rio. Showing Rio again Friday and Saturday, Jamp Saturday and Sunday. Phew!
Show days are always really early mornings, so I wasn't able to get any runs in. But I figured Tuesday would be a perfect day to go since Monday was for resting. It was pretty chilly in the morning, so I saved the run for after working the horses. It was the perfect plan, temps in the low to mid 70's with a light breeze. Gorgeous day for a run:
This was toward the end of my run. Fortunately I've been coming here for a long time, so I know the entire end of the run is up hill. I planned accordingly and ran farther into town, so I could have a nice cool down stroll up the mountain when I was done. Cheating? Maybe, but I'm on VACATION!
I also got to exercise my wallet while on vacation... I have yet to decide if that's good or bad. Shopping makes me happy, but I really need to start behaving myself! When I get home, the reckless spending must end. Sad face. I have two weddings to go to in September so I found two dresses marked down to $49.00 each. They both retailed around $200, so that was pretty good! Here are some bad photos of them:

They look tons better on, trust me. I do need to find shoes for them when I get home, but there's a small chance I have something already. (Hopefully!) Speaking of shoes.... I also got these:

Bad photos I know, it's dark in my motel room. The bottom ones are for wearing at the horse show, the ones that look the same up top there are actually gold and pretty silly. And I love them. Yay shoes!
Not to be completely selfish though, I also got presents for everyone helping me out at  home. I hope they like their gifts!
The HIGHLIGHT of my shopping happened at the Vermont Country Store.

Have you ever been? You should definitely stop in if you're ever in Southern Vermont. They have lots of old fashioned toys (in old fashioned packaging no less!) and all kinds of delicious snacks. You can pretty much find anything you could ever need there from housewares to clothing. Though the clothes... we'll just say are also old fashioned.
My second favorite purchase here was for my niece:
Adorable right? She's too young right now to care, but I think she'll love this next year. Raggedy Ann was one of my faves when I was little. My neighbor made me one of these dolls even. I still have her :)
But here it is. The HIGHLIGHT of my entire trip to VT:
NEW BROOMS! Seriously. I'm not even being facetious. These are the best brooms for sweeping my rubber barn floor, and I just put my last unused one out on the floor. I bought all they had, but this should hold me over until next year.
So that's what I've been up to! Spending money, horse showing, and a little running thrown in there too.
How is your summer going? Do anything fun and exciting? Do share!