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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

March 21, 2015

Training Log: Preparing for my first 50

Back in 2012 I sort of had an endurance riding wanna-be melt-down.  I'd had a few bad experiences with people in the sport and especially in the aspect of social networking.  I'd decided to just pack it in and be done with it.  But I had a deep seated sadness that I'd never realized the goal I'd carried for so many years to complete a 50 mile ride on a horse that I had trained myself from scratch.  "Mean Patti" Stedman had written something about the wonderfulness of the sport, and I responded that my experience had not reflected that.  She asked me twice to try again, and I stewed over it...she offered up a couple of electronic far-away in the Northeast mentors.  As it turned out I only had two issues:

  • My confidence had been pretty much shattered.  Which was a "me" problem.  As my actual ride record wasn't that bad.  No mentor could honestly help me with that.  I had to believe in myself enough to fix it.

  • I needed a strategy for cooling out my little Appy mare that did not have great pulse-downs like my Arabs had in the past.
So what follows are my journal notations from start to finish for that first 50 on a horse that had previously over-timed an LD and completed an LD  in June of 2012.  Had been " dinking " around with CMO (competitive mounted orienteering) in the one year interim.   I thought this might shed light for a new rider on basic conditioning especially if you begin in the hot/humid weather of summer like I did.  It reads from the bottom, up.  It is not a training bible by any means.  That is the thing, each horse is different.  The value in reading it is to see the incremental changes in that horse over the course of the Summer and Fall...and that I did realize my dream after many years of waiting, trying, three horses, a melt-down, and finally just doing the thing.     You will want to scroll to the bottom and read from the bottom, up.

*November 2, 2013 Completed Spook Run (53 miles)(we took  the slow way... ride time 9 hours and...5 minutes).

*October 19-31st, short rides, tapering down. 30-45 minutes.

*October 18, 25.25 miles, hilly ride. *October 15, 5.6 miles of hill work.

*October 13, 12.18 miles CMO Versailles State Park.

*October 12, 18.23 miles CMO Versailles State Park

*October 7, 2013 Short Interval Session.

•October 5, 2013 Intense hill session.

•Sept 28, 2013 time: 2:22:13 Moving Time: 2:07:43 Elapsed Time: 2:22:20 Avg Speed: 5.5 mph Avg Moving Speed: 6.2 mph Max Speed: 10.8 mph. The goal today was to attempt getting our A + A loop done with a faster average than we have been. It is so difficult to get her to just stretch out and go, and maddening to me when I know SHE CAN, but she won't. We did manage to have an average speed of 5.5 when you factored pulse down time into it. So better, but nothing to crow or do the happy dance about. Some days I dunno...if we will ever make it.

•Sept 27, 2013 Distance: 5.18 mi Time: 54:08 Avg Speed: 5.7 mph Just shaking out the cobwebs a little for our longer ride tomorrow. The Spotted Wonder extended her trot out to 9 mph a few times this evening, and we were able to walk our downhills without dropping below 5 mph. Planning on sustained trotting tomorrow.
•Sept 24, 2013 Hill work 1:30

•Sept 22, 2013 Rode 19.75 miles climbed 1,879 elevation gain, avg speed 4.6

•Sept 20 Hill work 1:20

•Sept 17 Hill work 1:13 •Sept 14 LSD 25 miles, speed avg 5 mph, eating, drinking well, grass snatching. Temperature 76, nice breeze, no humidity. Pulse down 4 minutes.

•Sept 8, 2013 Journey had an hour doing the ups and downs of hillwork. Hills just pretty much kick her butt, especially with humidity at 94%.

•Sept 6, 2013 16.8 miles @ 5.1 mph avg. Time: 3:16. Renegades did great, no wraps this time, and no interference marks! Journey really wasn't feeling it today. She is going to need a few days off this week to recoup. Our mileage was pretty high this week.

•Sept 4, 2013 slow steep hill work for one hour.

•Sept 2, 2013 Rode 14.7 miles, testing out the Renegade Viper Hoof boots. We did slow some hills, a couple of short canters on the uphill, trotting, extended power trot, sandbar, mud, hardpack, and blacktop. Our average speed was slow today, and varied in general, but the boots are a definite go. 3 hours of work, and no rubs. Yay!

•August 31, 2013 Heat and humidity...put off a ten mile as long as I could. Even so it was 73 degrees with 94% humidity. Journey was soaked, I was soaked with rivers of sweat. She dug on in though. Distance: 10.16 mi Time: 1:57:12 Avg Speed: 5.2 mph. Because of the humidity we walked the road section to give her a breather of sorts, and still managed above 5 mph. So all is good.

•August 24, 2013 Distance 21 miles done as an 11/10 split. The 11 took 1:50 and the 10 took 2;00. We did more walking on the last lap. Journey did well, just the usual non-motivated ride. She really doesn't quit on me, she just doesn't reach under herself and get that push you need for a ground eating trot. But I know she can, she doesn't see the purpose I suppose. She'll get a couple more days of R&R, then probably a short zippy ride on tuesday.

•Aug. 19, 2013 Distance: 10.87 mi Time: 2:13:36 Avg Speed: 4.9 mph Elevation Gain: 533 ft

•August 18, 2013 A slow warm up, riding out to the hill on X. Took her up it with heart monitor on and couldn't get her pulse over 132. So that wasn't going to work. Couldn't trot up it as it is strewn with limestone rock and she wasn't booted. So we trotted on down to B trail and tried the approach back to day parking. If we trotted I could get her into the 176-186 range of heart rate, and she'd drop to 90 by the time we got back to the bottom at a trot. The hill is just under a half mile but it is the longest one I've got. We did 6 intervals, trotting up, and walk/trotting down. 68° Humidity 83%. Distance: 2.54 mi Time: 30:31 Avg Speed: 5.0 mph Elevation Gain: 358 ft (that sucks). Our warm up: Distance: 2.94 mi Time: 39:37 Avg Speed: 4.5 mph

•Aug. 15. 2013 Distance: 10.22 mi Time: 1:55:22 Avg Speed:5.3 mph Journey has a deep, bad, boot rub on her hind. Honestly not sure if it was the boot, or the vet wrap to help the rear glove stay on, but we won't be booting that hoof for awhile. No hide left, just meat in a quarter sized area.

•August 13, 2013 Distance: 5.57 mi Time: 1:04:30 Avg Speed: 5.2 mph. We walked at least a third of it tonight, downhills, some of the steeper short uphills, and just worked on stretching out her trot enough that we could walk and still be above a 5 mph avg. I feel so hopeful when I see that trot stretch out to 9 mph...then 10 mph. She can sustain a 7 mph trot fairly well now, and has to work at it to crank it up a notch. Slow and steady, we will just keep on, keepin' on. She will have two rest days and we will try to find us a hill on Friday.

•August 12, 2013 Distance: 4.96 mi Time: 1:04:35 Avg Speed 4.6 mph, just some slow hill work this evening, practicing stopping and eating, and stretching out her trot a few times above 9 mph. Hills if you can call our's that was the primary objective. Journey did a good job. 79 degrees and 74 % humidity

•August 10, 2013 Finally! 15.8 miles at one pop. So humid...I've been home half an hour and I'm still soaked through. But! Journey pulsed down to 51 by the time I could get the handheld out of the trailer and put it on her. First half of ride done at normal speed, Distance: 10.99 mi Time: 1:54:00 Avg Speed: 5.8 mph The last four miles measured separately but ridden non-stop total: Distance: 4.84 mi Time: 1:10:56 Avg Speed: 4.1 mph. Trying to stick to the rule: Do not add speed when you are increasing distance. •August 4, 2013 14.2 slow miles. Just took it easy and rode with a friend. 3 1/2 hours of walking, trotting, learning to step off rock ledges, and go through an under the highway tunnel. Test rode the Renegade boots, so far thumbs up!

•August 2, 2013 Time 1:56, mileage 10.56, average speed 5.5 mph. We had a wreck at the canter tonight and went down hard. Hand walked Journey in, she seems okay other than an interference mark on the hind. The pegasus boots I wrapped her in did not prevent it. Hoping my girl will be okay.

•July 30, 2013 Riding our home turf again. Footing good, temp about 78 degrees and humid. Time: 1:22:03 Moving Time: 1:20:52 Elapsed Time: 1:23:40 Avg Pace: 9:19 min/mi Avg Moving Pace: 9:11 min/mi Best Pace: 4:50 min/mi Distance 8.8 miles. She rode like she had some grit tonight. Just dug into the work, but under control and on a loose rein except for one stellar spook/one-rein stop. The work from Sunday was already evident today. Nice improvement. Now a couple days off and hope to hit the hill intervals on Friday.

•July 28, 2013 Drove over to the park today, and got in 10.99 miles. Elapsed Time: 2:13:42 Avg Pace: 12:01 min/mi Avg Moving Pace: 11:03 min/mi Best Pace: 5:06 min/mi. Journey came out of a boot and since I can't reboot the gloves without a mallet we cantered up the last hill and called it a day. Our speed average again was way too slow. We did manage the bare minimum, but that's it. Last year at this time we were able to maintain at least 6-7 mph. Journey slipped in the mud and half fell down. But she seemed to be no worse for wear. She will get tomorrow off, and then hoping to head back out on our home loop for at least 7 miles on Tuesday.

•July 27, 2013 Today was supposed to be a short steady state ride, my trails not only went to soup again, but the neighbors are camping on the loop I ride with tents pitched right in the logging road. So I had to improvise. We went to the back field where LSEGH had filled in the hole with the tractor and remowed our path so I could watch for other holes. We just turned it into a session working on speed gears. Some trot, some canters, some walking in between. Most of our canters was on a slight uphill grade. It amazes me that she runs a better pulse cantering uphill than she does trotting. At least ten points lower on average. Time: 52:42 Moving Time: 49:35 Elapsed Time: 52:43 Avg Speed: 5.1 mph Avg Moving Speed: 5.4 mph Max Speed: 12.3 mph Distance: 5 miles

•July 26, we did our first real hill interval session. Only two fast uphills of .28 of a mile, time 1:37/ 10.2 and 1:42/ 9.5 mph. We are going to tweak these up as we go, and try to build up her canter on this hill. Wish I could find another one longer, but have to work with what I have. We followed up with cantering the field for another quarter mile at 9. 5 mph average. The final field run took her about 30 seconds to drop to 100 bpm. She needs this aneorbic work. In between these we walked down the hill for cool off. She barely worked up a sweat.

•July 23, 2013 We started out to work on a trotting session. Things started off great, she was stepping out 7-8- and finally 10 mph, galloping a few flats. We only made a couple of miles and a thunderstorm blew in. Here we go again. Untacked the soggy horse, just dejected and so totally angry that I honestly flipped off a thunderstorm. %!!# So I stomp in the house, fling some crap around, have a melt-down, and low and behold the freaking sun came out. So I trudge back into the field, secure the horse again, boot again, tack up again, suck down some gator aid as my blood sugar is plummeting, and head out for a much slower ride. She was slipping bad in the boots on the muddy track. Actually not bad in the grass. We ended up with this : Time: 1:28:16 Moving Time: 1:21:17 Elapsed Time: 2:27:18 Avg Speed: 5.8 mph Avg Moving Speed: 6.3 mph Max Speed: 16.7 mph, Distance: 8.57 mi so if I can get a hill session on Friday I'll be on-track for this week

 •July 21, 2013 Attempted a fifteen mile ride this morning, but the heat did me in again. Made it 9.5 slow miles, with a few uphill sprints. Starting feeling not well again, and rode back in. Journey did fine, she was at 54 when we came in, she really wasn't taxed all that much today, just walking mostly and loosening her up from yesterday's short/faster ride. The rider is the weak link currently. It as only 72 degrees but the humidity just kills me at 88%. Journey nicked her back pastern, she will have to start wearing brushing boots again. This has been a little bit of a set-back, hoping next week will be "better."

•July 20, 2013 80 degrees, humidity 84 %, distance only 5.2 as the rider had to pull the plug, not feeling well. Distance: 5. 2 mi Avg Speed: 6.4 mph. Just dangerously miserable out there, the footing was great, and Journey was forward and cooperative. We even had a couple short walking breaks in the there so I was happy with the ride, but not doing well myself as I was very ill yesterday, and just haven't got the wind back in my sails yet.

• July 14, 2013 Temp 77 degrees and humidity 79% Ride Time: 2:33 Distance 13.7 miles Average Speed 5 mph. Max speed: 17 mph. Pulse down: 6 minutes. It was muddy, and like a sauna out there. We started early in the day, but it was sweltering by the time we came in. We had a few mishaps today. An off trail tangle with a briar, a short trail misdirection, a rock in a hind boot, a stick (a big one) run through her gaiter and flopping around, lost two of our under gaiter protectors to deep mud, and got a cut from the gaiter because of that. Bad as that sounds, it was over-all a good ride. Journey wasn't as forward as I'd have liked, but since breathing makes you feel you'd like to suck on an oxygen girl did good.
*July 12, 2013 Temp 81 degrees and humidity 42%. Trail conditions dry on the flats, muddy in the bottoms. Distance: 7.1 miles Time: 1:19:34 Moving Time: 1:17:27 Elapsed Time: 1:19:34 Avg Speed: 5.3 mph Avg Moving Speed:5.5 mph Max Speed: 14.2 mph. We added a mile this evening, and our average speed dropped just a little. Again we sprinted in the last little bit, and her pulse was up, and she was blowing when my feet hit the ground. LSEGH started spraying, then misting. She hung at 78 bpm for several minutes. It took seven minutes to get down to criteria this evening, but when it dropped boom! 48 bpm. I'll take it!!! I'm finding it interesting that she is running more effecient at the canter than the trot as long as we are on the flat. I feel I need to build on that so we have different gears to use various muscle sets.

 •July 9, 2013 Temp 85 degrees, humidity 67%, Heat Index 91 degrees (oppresively hot). Trail conditions dry on the flats, muddy in low lying areas. Distance: 5.18 mi Time: 58:04 Avg Speed: 5.4 mph . Journey was blowing when we came in, as we sprinted the edge of the field which is a gradual uphill grade. I wanted to see if the "new fangled cooling device" would still get her down in less than 10 minutes if she was hot. She was at 84 bpm by the time I unsaddled, started spraying her, 4 minutes she was down to 54 bpm. Also added a pre-ride dose of electrolyte. We did some short canters, and a fast hand gallop on the flat. Her canter was running at 105 in this heat, at least in the short run. The trot was actually running a bit higher 120-136 but we were sustaining it longer.

•July 7, 2013 72 degrees, humidity 90%, and the rain continues. Trail conditions muddy and slick. Distance: 10.32 mi Time: 2:54:40 Avg Speed: 3.5 mph . We walked most of this ride, had some uphill trotting intervals when the footing seemed safe. Journey was pretty antsy wanting to go back to the barn "mentally." Will be glad when I can get some away from home rides, just so much easier, and way more productive towards the goal. 

•July 5, 2013 78 degrees, humidity 74%, it has continued to rain daily, trail conditions are very muddy and slick. Distance: 4.75 mi Time: 1:22:09 Avg Speed: 3.5 mph . We are going to keep our rides at an hour to an hour and a half until I see an improved pulse recovery. Pulse down took 4 minutes, actively cooling the horse for less than two. Tried out the pump up sprayer method tonight, and Journey l♥ves it! 

•July 2, 2013 80 degrees, 66% humidity, rolling terrain, Distance: 5.35 mi Time: 1:03:39 Avg Speed: 5.0 mph. Pulse down took 9 minutes. Will probably stay at this distance until I see that number responding better. Mapped me out a one mile loop, and lap it 5 times plus some change. We utilized all gaits, the ground was muddy.

•June 29, 2013 76 degrees, humid, Distance: 4.77 mi Time: 1:13:53 Avg Speed: 3.9 mph, muddy and slick, she's pretty out of shape. Took six minutes to pulse down from this ride. We did a lot of short trotting intervals, and a lot of walking. Remedial work on downhills, she's wanting to run down again, much time spent going up and down working on that. It's a start though.

•June 25, 2013 Hot, high humidity, Time 1:32:11.3 Distance 4.96 Average Speed 3.2 (a lot of remedial correction tonight), mostly reinforcing walk means WALK. We did start out this evening with a nice moving trot, 7.3 mph, then the turkey flapped out on us, next was a skunk ready to spray, then the deer flies. Considering it was a nice ride *LOL*

•June 23, 2013 Broke the Spotted Wonder out of mothballs Time 43:58.3 Distance2.78 Average speed: 3.8 Weather, breezy and lightening (yeah)

And so we begin the journey to a 50 mile endurance ride.

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