Monday, May 4, 2015

Pipestave Hill 5k: A New Appreciation

In an effort to stay a little fitter over the winter and not burden Maggie with my ineptitude and general out-of-shapeness, I joined a local gym back in November. Aside from riding and generally being outdoors doing things a lot of time time, I haven't had an actual fitness routine for a kid of while now. I've always been a generally athletic person - I did gymnastics in elementary school and then soccer in my teens, ultimate frisbee my first year of college and then a fair amount of recreational running during my last year - but those things have for the most part been overshadowed by my time spent with horses. For that reason, and because I've never really considered myself a 'runner', I have never before run in any kind of formal race.

Evening sun over the XC field at Pipestave Hill
So this, the Pipestave Hill 5k, was my first formal foot race of any kind. I chose this race for a few reasons:
  1. I saw a flyer for it in my gym.
  2. 5k is a pretty doable distance for a running noob.
  3. I am already familiar with Pipestave Hill because I've been to the horse trials there with Maggie! So at the very least, I wouldn't feel totally lost. Also, in a weird horse-nerd kind of way it seemed kind of exciting to me to run on the same grounds where I rode my horse XC!

And now that I have run a race alongside some of the same jumps that I've gone over with Maggie, I have a bit of a new appreciation for horses that run XC. Because it's HARD. 
Maggie and I jump XC at Pipestave, July 2014
All of us riders have heard at one point or another the argument that riding is not a sport because "the horse does all the work" (which is NOT true) - the rider is responsible for telling the horse what to do. Plus, any of us that have sat the trot, ridden without stirrups, or stayed in two point for longer than a minute will tell you that riding takes athleticism as well. 

I'd like to give the horse a little more credit for a second though, because running is HARD. Holy smokes, there was a second during the race after I made it to the top of a hill that I though might die. I know horses are born to run - like, literally, they can stand and run within an hour after they're born - and humans are not. But even so, I think it's quite the extra athletic feat for them to run and jump all the things. 


Watching Rolex last weekend and then this weekend running past the very same fences that I ask my pony to just over made me stop, reflect, and admire what truly incredible athletes horses are.

(and in case you're curious how it actually went - I did good! I didn't walk, finished in ~28 minutes, and somehow managed to win my age division...which I am still in disbelief about.)

7 comments:

  1. I ran my first 5K race last year (in the freezing rain no less) and totally resonate with appreciation for horses that make go-go-go look easy.

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    1. Eek, freezing rain sounds rough! I was very fortunate to have some lovely weather.

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  2. congrats on an awesome 5k time! and i definitely don't wish for reversed horse/rider roles haha

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    1. haha that conjures quite an interesting picture!

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  3. I hate running, so I have a lot of admiration of you for doing this!

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  4. Sometimes I dream that I am running XC and I'm not riding a horse at all -- I'm just galloping on all fours and jumping the jumps myself. It's terrifying. I prefer to run XC on TWO feet, thanks!! And on Murray. :)

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    1. lol, yes two feet for me please! Though if I had to pick between my own two feet and Maggie's four, I will pick Maggie's any day!

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