Riding Off Into The Sunset (aka Cross Training)

sunset Palera(this is what I did today)

I’m aware that this blog might give the impression that running is my main hobby. While I love to run with a furious passion, it’s not even my main physical activity. I happen to spend a much more significant portion of my free time looking after, training, and chilling out with this gorgeous creature:

strutting

I’m the proud owner of the world’s most awesome supersteed. She’s a proper lady: strong and powerful, she oozes confidence, is honest and opinionated in equal and untold measures, but above all, she’s extremely loyal. This is certainly a friend to steal horses with.

So when my physiotherapist told me yesterday that he wants me to run a bit less over the coming two weeks, it only irked me a little bit. For the past few weeks, my right hip has been feeling somewhat sluggish and heavy. It rarely hurts, and if it does it’s mild pain which is very unpredictable. Even weirder is the fact that any pain goes away when I run on it for a few kilometres. Still, I can’t ignore the fact that every soft part of my hip is ever so slightly swollen and heavy, so I knew I had to get it checked out. I also knew that I was running on borrowed time and it wouldn’t be long before someone would tell me to cut back.

I’ve had a great year of running so far. Throughout the summer, I had boundless energy to do everything; I’d often run and ride on the same day.* This past month, running has been a real blessing which has eased me into the winter months and has helped me stay happy and focussed during a rather unkind November (for some reason things in my life always go belly-up in November).

I am still allowed to run a little, and I’m sure I’ll continue to enjoy many gentle doddles throughout December. I’ll stay active as the year draws to a close and if nothing else, it’s a great excuse to chase down the sunset on horseback a little more often!

canter

* I bet some of you are wondering why I don’t just go for a run with the horse, right? Well let me tell you that, in practice, this idea isn’t as cool as it sounds. The first kilometre or so I have to sprint like there’s no tomorrow to keep up with her massive, flying trot. After that, she starts to first eye, then shamelessly flirt with the grass by the side of the path, causing many a wobble. After approximately two kilometres she decides that this distance running malarkey is silly, and abruptly withdraws co-operation. You try dragging a 630km horse behind you while you run. Go on. I dare you.

Snoozing

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6 thoughts on “Riding Off Into The Sunset (aka Cross Training)

  1. Jim Brennan says:

    Very cool! Coincidently, my running partner is also an equestrian.

    • It’s an amazing hobby – it’s challenging on different levels, because you have to work on the relationship with the horse above everything else. The process of training and mentality behind it are very different I find. But horses give you something very, very beautiful in return. When I run, it’s just me against the trail, when I ride, it’s all about what the horse and I can do together on that particular day.

  2. What a beautiful ‘steed!’ 🙂 I was fortunate to have grown up with our own horses and living in the Scottish Borders allows you many a hill and annual ‘Common Riding’ to get out there and make sure your burgh hasn’t been encroached!!! 😉
    The connection you can have with a horse is a very special one, from the caring, cleaning, feeding and exercise – one of THE best ways to grow up I think!
    Not sure if you’re aware of a certain race that takes place in Wales, where ‘man runs against horse’…? Based historically on an old wager but still celebrated today, health and safety for both parties is paramount and can be a great day for all. I’m still to run it but have it on my ‘bucket list’. Another one is making some good use out of the ‘hunting hounds’ group, where horse and hound are given your scent and you are given a couple hours head start and then before the house are set loose to chase you down!!!!! :o@ 😉

    • Horses force us (in a gentle way) to be in the moment with them. It’s another way of being grounded and connected to nature. I get that from running too, but then it’s only me. I completely agree that the bond we can share with a horse is something incredibly special. I think there might be a “man versus horse” races in the Lakes as well, but I might be wrong about that. Isn’t that also how the Western States Endurance Ultra started in the US? It was initially a horse riding endurance event, and then someone decided to run it when his horse came up lame? In any case, I’m all for bucket lists, you should totally do it!

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