Sunday, October 24, 2010

Horse show

So, a couple weeks ago, I was in a horse show. Didn't do fantastically well (yay for subjective judging!) but I know some people were interested, so I thought I'd throw it up here. This was a schooling show - as small as you can get - pretty much the equivalent of a piano recital. "Look Ma, I kin ride a horsie! I gots participation ribbon!" But even as small as it is, you have to look pretty. :) The day before, all the boarders lined up at the wash stalls for bathtime.

Soap, and water. Soap soap and water ....

Although this doesn't quite prevent the horse from rolling around happily in hay and dirt all night in his stall, so there's still quite a lot of boarders that get to the barn at o-dark-oclock (5:30-6AM) to school their horses and rewash the morning of the show. This may be the one time I'm glad I don't own a horse.

Show Day! You can buy some saddle pads and belts .... (Yes, I see the name La Oreo is embroidered on the baby blue pad. No, I don't know what it means. I suppose this is useful if you're French and your horse is named Oreo?)

Or a generator. These people are always here, but nobody ever seems to talk to them.

It's the fall show, so the Costume Class was unveiled in it's full glory. Mary Poppins and her carousel horse (the girl clutching a giant pole) took blue.

I entered Adult Equitation (adult long stirrupers, so nothing more fancy than the usual walk/trot/canter and two circles of crossrails) and did so-so. I was quite pleased to be competing against people my age and older. All the past shows, it's been me against 13 year olds. I just want to say, it's not a great boost to your ego when a little kid with pigtails looks allll the way up at you (because, you know, your head is up in the sky) and says: "Wow. You're so old." Sniff. Adult Eq over fences was just crossrails today (I thought they did 1'9 verticals the last time, but I'm not sure) and .... yeessh, I didn't do well at all, so we won't talk about that. The flat class I thought went really well though, and I was really happy with how I rode. (Too bad the judge didn't agree! But my trainer was happy.) Due to a camera malfunction, only the second half of the flat class is available. (Don't worry. The first half looked exactly the same, only going in the opposite direction.) If you can't tell, I'm on the spotted grey.

Blurry Anthro reviews

Yup, they're blurry. Sorry, I only had my iphone with me that day, no camera. And sorry, they're a bit late. They're from the 10-5 sale. But um, better late than never? :(

I think I might have just been in mourning for Chicago sports. Or well, not even Chicago sports, but all the sports I follow. October has been such a horrible month sports wise. I'm really not sure what the Bears are doing - besides losing in the most embarrassing manner possible. Blackhawks are up and down, but that's to be expected with all their turnover this season. Purdue lost Robbie Hummel for the season. (SNIFF.) The US imploded at the World Equestrian Games. (SNIFF. Sapphire!) China imploded at the World Championships. (SNIFF. Sui Lu, I don't understand this neon pink leotard you had on, but you deserved to medal on floor. So sad.) Maybe the Bulls can rescue us. But they also have almost a quarter of the team injured. Maybe not.

Okay, moment of lament over. Clothes!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

In search of gold

Ingalls Way (to Ingalls Lake)
9 miles, 2500 ft elevation gain (I don’t believe it, I think it was longer)

Mt. Stuart and Headlight Basin(Mount Stuart standing majestically before Headlight Basin and its larches)

Anyone who has listened to me talk about hiking this year has heard the names of two hikes mentioned over and over: Blanca Lake (with its light blue glacial waters) and Ingalls Lake (a shocking gem of a lake, with the possibility of golden larches on the way). I gave up on Blanca for the year after a failed attempt to reach the trailhead but continued to watch the weekend weather forecasts for an opportunity for Ingalls. Last weekend was it! Sunny weather, golden larches barely still hanging onto their needles, perfect. Unfortunately, everyone else thought so, too. By 10:30am, the trailhead parking lot was way more than full, and there were over a dozen cars starting to line the side of the road. This weekend was also the opening weekend of hunting season, and we passed many hunting camps on the way in, including one very reassuring sign that said, “Kill zone.” The last stretch was 9 miles on unpaved, bumpy USFS road that was pretty slow going.

Mt. Rainier Crunchy ice
(left: Mt. Rainier is watching you, right: crunchy ice threads on the trail)

Three trails leave from this trailhead. The Esmeralda Basin trail splits off pretty quickly, then the trail starts a nice series of switchbacks upwards. We started to see crunchy ice in shapes that looked like bunches of little threads (see above) along the trail, and there were light patches of snow as well. Despite the highs being forecast in the 50s, at 10:30am it was definitely in the 30s. Nice weather for hiking while the sun was out, but it got chilly pretty quickly anytime we would stop moving. We hit the first point of the day where we’d look and see teeny tiny people in the distance, far away and high above us, and think, “We have to go there?!” This happened a number of times during this hike. I don’t think I’ve ever done a hike where it really felt like we covered a lot of distance, maybe because so much of the hiking was on exposed surfaces where the distance was visible.

  55147_10100183774496368_13722459_56600387_3520486_o 51913_10100183772365638_13722459_56600310_5104342_o
(left: a bit of meadow, right: golden larches)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

2010 Nike Women's Marathon

Today was race day, and my performance for my first 26.2 mi. marathon was less than stellar. I made several mistakes that I suspected would come back and haunt me. 1) Didn't do enough hill training--in the South Bay, there's few areas to find good hills to train on 2) Didn't account for the unpredictable San Francisco weather 3) Didn't practice my running on cement, but instead did mostly soft trail running.

The challenges that I found out while running was that there were 5 massively steep hills, it started raining 1/3rd of the way through the race, most of the race was on cement and had urban objects like metal manholes, gratings that were easy to stumble/slip on, and the event was massively, massively crowded.

The Nike Women's Marathon wasn't as well organized as the Silicon Valley Marathon (where I ran the half)--we didn't start at 7:00 am, though there was about 20k women there, people weren't really lined up in their right pacing corrals, and the participants were required to pay for a bus back to Union Square (SVM did that for free). Also, though there were some entertaining events such as parkour, Japanese drumming, and random bands playing--I found the blasting speakers at every milestone mark obnoxious since it was too loud. Also, many parts of the marathon were a bit overly-commercialized--including the Expotique. Don't ask about my finishing time--it was pretty crappy due to twisting my ankle from slipping in the rain halfway through and hobbling/running to the 26.2 mi. marathon finish. I'll do better next time.

I did really like the design of the 2010 Tiffany's sterling silver necklace though. The prior year versions weren't very stylish, imho. But despite the corny phrase on the bar, it's elegant enough to go with many tops.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Horses and clothes, these are just some of my favorite things ...

Mario Deslauriers and Urico

So, if you're at work and you're trying to figure out how to configure your environment for a new project, clearly the correct thing to do is to post on your blog while following Show Jumping Round 1 at the World Equestrian Games. (In my defense, these pictures are waaaayyy overdue. I took them two weeks ago before I went off on vacation. And well, show jumping is more fun that work.) Currently, they're through 96 out of 121 riders. As of now, Mario Deslauriers and Urico of the USA stand in first, with heavy hitters Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum of Germany in 5th and Eric Lamaze of Canada in 6th. (Still to come, US anchor rider McLain Ward and the amazing Sapphire, going 119th. Go Sapphire!)

This was the only thing I tried on from this trip that I actually liked. Except I already have a black jacket of similar length. I love the ruffles on this jacket, except black always hides the details, so from a distance, it looks exactly the same as my other black jacket. :( I think I tried on the cream version of this when it first came out and I remember the ruffles that stand up around the neck looking really weird on me, and making my neck look really short. I still look like I have an ultra short neck. I think I'm passing unless I can catch it super cheap on sale.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Surprise Hike

WaterfallSurprise Creek (to Surprise Lake)
8 miles, 2300 ft gain

I normally don’t hike alone for safety reasons, but this weekend I decided to throw safety to the wind to seek some solitude. At a yoga retreat I attended, one of the activities was to spend a few hours in the morning in silence, not speaking, gesturing, or making eye contact with anyone else. A lot of people found it to be weird, but I didn’t. This is my preference in groups of people, and I only feel the need to speak due to societal expectations. So spending a few hours in the woods without the pressure to speak was really refreshing for me.

Surprise Lake

Not that there weren’t challenges. My navigational incompetence came out even more when there wasn’t someone to assist. My original plan was to hike Blanca Lake, so I drove to Index to get on Index-Galena Road, only to discover 5 miles down that the road was closed. I had done a bit of research before, but not enough. One of the roads to the trailhead was repaired last year, but not this one. Oops. My phone was out of data range, so I picked another hike in my book and headed there. Surprise! (groan) I should also mention that on the way to Index, it started raining (real rain) around Gold Bar, and my mood instantly darkened. It was not in the forecast at all, and I thought about turning around, but fortunately, it stopped quickly. I missed the turn for the Surprise Lake trailhead – well, I actually saw it, but I saw signs that said “emergency parking only” and didn’t think it was a road – and the next place to legally turn around was at the Stevens Pass ski resort. So I ended up driving 8 miles up to the pass and briefly considered changing itineraries yet again to Lake Valhalla, since I was already there. But 11 miles sounded long, so I turned around and drove back down. It wasn’t an entire waste – there was a toilet at Stevens Pass and there wasn’t one at the trailhead, and the drives down Index-Galena Road and Stevens Pass were gorgeous. Pollyanna Nina sees the bright side!