Friday, January 31, 2014

How often / how far: January 2014

January is a wrap, and here's my completed calendar:
It's about 80 miles total for Miss D. There's a couple of rides with no mileage listed that were just at a walk, or were just a few miles, or I don't know I forgot to write it down and now I've forgotten, but 80 miles is pretty close to accurate.

My goals were: four long rides, three hill gallop sets, and that 10k people-race. I pretty much nailed 'em.

  • On the 6th we did Briones solo at a pretty good pace. I like to amble peacefully for the first four miles of very pretty singletrack, then freak out about how we're going to be out til midnight and kick it into high(er) gear for the last 10. 14/2:53.
  • On the 11th, we picked up K and Gino and did Briones at a green-horse pace. Gino's fitness is coming along very nicely, but he hasn't seen much of the world and we let him have all the time he needed to process trailer loading, new trails, and playing leapfrog with a horse he hasn't known his entire life. He did great. About 4:00.
  • The ride on the 13th was when I realized Dixie really is fitter than this time last year - she marched straight up Orchard without stopping, hit the ridge trail at the top, and cantered for home. Good girl!
  • We went back to Briones on the 16th. The first four miles went even slower than usual, because Dixie was in heat like I've never seen her before. I alternated between "she's just in heat," "she's colicking and about to die," and "ok maybe not colicking but she's definitely tying up and about to die" before I settled on "just in heat" and insisted that she trot without stopping, peeing, or waiting for Mister Right Now to appear. Somehow, despite taking like 1:15 to go the first four miles, we put the pedal down and did the whole thing in 3:10.
  • We went out again that weekend and plonked along at our usual 5.5 mph. 
  • On the 25th, I hauled to Auburn and rode 22 miles of the Tevis trail (Overlook to River Crossing and back). I was with Lucy and ~C, and we were moving at a solid "never hurry, never tarry" moving pace of just over 4:00. (Doesn't include stops for tiny children, dogs, bikes, and loose boots.)
  • Yesterday, I "cheated" at running by making Dixie canter to the top of the ridge, then trot a couple miles along the ridge, before I finally got off and ran back home with her. 
That's it. That's all I did. 

While I am funemployed in sunny, drought-dry California and free to ride whenever, I just want to point out that getting those miles in would be entirely doable with a 40 hour workweek. I'm not saying that to criticize anybody for not riding that much! Especially with the weather most of yall have been suffering through! My point is that training for endurance doesn't take a tremendous time commitment. If you have one day totally free for your long ride, and one or two days where you can spare two hours before or after work, you can get 80 miles a month easily. 

Dixie's attitude is as surly as ever (see above re: Mister Right Now). Her weight is exactly where it was a month ago, despite dumping like 2 lbs of LMF Gold into her 5 days a week. I dewormed her with ivermectin a couple days ago. She's in a low-risk situation (not pastured with many other horses) but it's been a while. She is now going downhill correctly, moving straight down instead of zigzagging. Her tendons and joints have been cold and tight the day after every ride. Of course I let her hooves go to pot over the dead of "winter" but now I'm back on it, keeping her toes back and working those heels down again. I've added a Woolback and a pair of ATG ice boots to her mountain of gear. She's just starting to shed. 

Side note: Somehow, I managed to run 20 miles in January. I think I ran 20 miles in the last six months of 2013, so this is an impressively large figure for me. Yes, it's extremely embarrassing to "run" under a 4mph pace, but whatever - I'm plodding out the miles on some really hilly trails, and I'm getting faster, and I remain injury-free. 
  • The runs on the 9th and 14th were identical lollipops, one with the "pop" going clockwise and one counterclockwise, if that makes sense? Running counterclockwise, I go down a set of very steep trail-steps, run some little hills/flats, and then climb a moderately steep half-mile of trail. When I tried it the other way - running down the moderately steep trail, then panting and gasping my way up the steps, I was surprised to see that my times were about the same. 
  • The "E hike" note on the 20th was me setting out on a run that turned into a hike. My legs felt very tired, so after the first half-mile of relatively flat trail, I turned and hiked up the ridge. I was hoping that if I just stayed out, pushing myself past the first 20 minutes of "ugh I hate running," I'd find some new energy. But my legs still felt like lead, so I listened to my body, which is my new First Commandment. "Running through the pain" makes for some great, great, triple-word-score-great motivational images, but it also leads to injury. Running is my sideline hobby, and that means I'd rather suck a lot at it than risk hurting myself.
  • On the 17th I put on a hoodie and did some heat conditioning. It sucked like you'd think it'd suck. I shall do it again, more often, but I can't get truly motivated about the heat of summer in January. 
  • Yesterday I stretched out and ran quite a bit faster than usual. This meant I had to take more frequent/longer walk breaks, but overall, my pace was way faster. I am getting fitter, wow! :)
Next month's plan: taper for 20 Mule Team, ride 100 miles in one day, rest and heal. Bonus goals: a 5 mile people-race on the 8th. 

K and I are planning on going back out next weekend, the 8th or 9th, to Briones or Mt. Diablo. We'll let Gino set the pace again, working on Facing Our Fears of Random Objects and playing leapfrog. If we ride on Sunday, I'll run a 5 mile race at Golden Gate Park on Saturday; if we ride on Saturday that means I don't have to get up early and pay $40 to embarrass myself. ;) 

After I haul out next weekend, I'll keep riding, but we'll just amble about smelling (and eating) the daisies. When we come back from Ridgecrest, she'll get the last week of February off again - when my legs function right, I'll start taking her for easy hikes to keep us moving around. 

I should say something about how March is conditioning for the Nevada Derby in early April but that's entirely too far away for me to think about. There's a trail run in my home park that I might as well do on the 22nd, so that's going on the calendar. 13 miles sounds about a million times farther than I want to run so I'll shoot for the 5 mile distance - maybe park at the barn and jog over to the start and make it closer to 8 miles total. 


  1. You're just all full of the awesomes, aren't you?

    Be proud, gal.

  2. Both your fitness routines are awesome. Really interesting to see how others train. You're going to rock the upcoming endurance season!

  3. You certainly put my fat pony to shame:)

    If you are interested in trying something for Dixie's heat/surliness....I have had great results using powdered chaste tree berries to help alleviate pain and grumpiness of heat cycles. In my experience, it works miracles about 80% of the time. The other twenty, it does nothing. It works by moderating hormonal fluctuations so it often help IR horses as well. It is safe and very cheap from

  4. Team Fixie is in the groove baby! Sounds great. I am so interested in all this since you are doing essentially the same low key maintenance I am, but on a non Arab--and it's still working. Can't wait for 20MT!!

  5. Can you tell me more about how you guys do leapfrog please?

  6. It's all in the details :-) Sounds like you've been planning your plan for a while now! A good one too! Nice that you're willing to do what needs to be done to get Dixie & you both ready!


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