adventures of a mere mortal in fitness and life

Driving well over the speed limit on the interstate in a construction zone, I berated myself in my head for overscheduling and underplanning for the race I was currently about to be late to arrive at. Coming off a 2 day conference for me and a 2 day Ragnar race for Mr. Prepared in which heat index was over 100 degrees  and multiple factors made him late arriving to the finish line Saturday night, Sunday morning seemed like about the worst time to pick up triathlon racing again.

I had really good intentions when I started packing my tri gear on Thursday night before I left for downtown. I meant to finish packing it and go through my checklist…I just didn’t. Truthfully, the leaving the kids and going off in different directions (him to Madison, me to Chicago) was annoying. Coming back to that half-packed bag and unprepared bike after 9 PM Saturday night did not motivate me to get it done like I should have.

Big mistake.

Basically, I didn’t fall asleep (tossing and turning thinking about all that I had learned at the conference) plus not preparing and then needing to wake up “early” led to about 4 hours of sleep. Plus, I hit the snooze. Then I screwed around in the kitchen for a while and futzed with the coffee, changed my racing uniform (I never do this), showered (def I never do this), scrolled the old FB feed with coffee cup #1, and …DAMMIT! I should have left a half hour ago!!!  Shit! I have nothing ready!  

Time for panic. Threw some more things in the half assed bag and tossed bike into back of truck. See, cuz the thing was I was also supposed to be there early because I had to pick up my packet, which they were offering for a little while the morning of since I didn’t get to packet pickup the day before (because people have lives?!?).

Side Note: Packet pickup is important because that’s where you get your timing chip, swim cap for your heat, and your swag. The swag was $$ in this race- a biking tank with gel pockets and what not. Perfect for the summer and way better than some crappy T-shirt. 

Anyways, on the hour drive to the race, I realized early on that I forgot my coffee and my pre-race water. For those that don’t know me, life just isn’t worth being awake if you don’t have morning coffee. So that sucked. I had nothing and I don’t have time to stop. I started drinking out of my race water bottle, banking that I would find water there (I didn’t but I also didn’t try because of reasons I’ll detail in a sec). I started wondering about all the other important stuff I could have forgotten and wondered whether to throw in the towel and turn around. But I really wanted that tank top. And I was already on my way so…

Crack of dawn being on my side, I made good time, only to roll close to the venue to find it inundated with cars. There was like zero parking anywhere close. I kind of expected this, but I didn’t plan for it. My go to triathlon pop-up bag is not like a backpack- it’s like a “mom”style tote (AKA drunk purchase made at an “Initials” party many years ago. You know the one piece you “had” to have after 4 cocktails? Yup, it’s that one). It does not just sling over your shoulder so you can ride your bike the FAR distance to the place where you pick up the packets. Basically, it sucks. Obvi, I am so fucking far out of practice preparing for races that I had basically messed up every step so far.

Good news was that I had all USAT required equipment- like a helmet, so I was still in the game. I pulled the ole race bike out of the back and … maybe I should have checked the tires before I left. No problem. I had the bike pump in the car and could pump them up. They definitely needed air, and … air was not going in. Nope, not at all. The valve extenders were spinning around and I knew there was something wrong, but I couldn’t fix it with what I had in my bike bag. Fuck it, I said. I‘ll ride on flat-ish tires. Maybe I will get a flat and then I won’t have to do the stupid race. 

I basically convinced myself that I would pick up my packet, get my tank top, and leave with my flat tires when I realized that if I didn’t just do the stupid triathlon, I was going to have to go home and recreate the experience. This race was not meant to be an end- it was really just a high-intensity training block for the week. When I thought about how I would have to recreate the logistics at home, I decided to grab my packet and continue on. I rolled over to the bike mechanic stand (which I had totally forgotten existed! YES!)  and said (nonchalantly), “Hey can you put air in my tires?” knowing full well some shit was messed up in there, or else I would have been able to do it myself.

The mechanic tried airing them with two different pumps before he tested it and determined the valve inside the valve extender was closed. I have these shitty ass valve extenders that look cool but are a pain in the ass (well now I have one less because he actually TOOK one from me that morning). Anyways, he pulled the old tube, tried a new one, same thing, didn’t work. Meanwhile, the clock was creeping ever closer to the transition area closing. Finally, when we were within 5 minutes of transition close, he got the right tube and put the tire and wheel back on the bike like a ninja!  I offered to pay (having cash for the first time ever at a triathlon…another sign of the apocalypse) but he just sent me off with a thank you yelled over my shoulder.

I get to the athlete entrance, no stickers on my bike or helmet. This kind of dumb, unprepared shit is where being at a “beginner-friendly” triathlon worked in my favor. Everyone was so stinkin’ nice to me, just in case it was my first time. A lot of races you will get volunteers on power trips yelling at you if you do something wrong. However, these volunteers were helping me unearth my sticker packet from my mom-tote and talking to me really gently, and I about broke down in tears because I didn’t even understand why everyone was being so nice when I hadn’t done a single thing right this morning.

However, I was too panicked to be filled with gratitude yet because transition closed in 4 minutes and you have to have your stuff set up and be out of there. It’s a big deal. Lots of people come an hour early, take time to set up, do warm-ups or a quick jog (this is what I do), and I was doing the exact opposite. And…there were no more spots on the bike racks in my wave. Everyone had already set up perfectly front-back-front-back on the racks and who could blame them? No one was expecting a late-as-shit-hot-mess coming in Wave 10.

I saw an opening in a Wave 11 rack and just took it. The people who were set up had already left to walk down to the water, and they would probably be mad when they returned, but whatever, the race would have started!

Mom-tote had way too much crap in it, including my MF driver’s license (found and lost this again since then!), car keys, and cash floating freely about in it, but I shoved everything down in it, threw the necessities on top, grabbed some gel (mostly for the caffeine! My lord!), my wetsuit and my cap and …broken goggles. Shit. I heard them sending in the not-so-gentle volunteers to close transition. He came my way and I just put my hand up, told him my goggles were broken and that it would take a minute to see if I could fix them. He backed away, clearing seeing the rabid dog look in my eye, and I was able to fix them. I headed out of transition toward the beach.

lake poolI got to the beach, expecting a lake (beach-lake- this is a natural association, yes?) and was VERY surprised to see a rather large sort-of natural pool. In my head I was like “uh-oh” because my strength is swimming in large bodies of water, not competing in a weird 100 meter hybrid pool/lake. Ah well. At this point, I was more about just involving myself in the experience and letting the rest sort itself out. I let go of ambitions about placing in my age group and reminded myself that this was my first rodeo in a while and it was okay to just enjoy the event, not treat it like my own personal trophy collection opportunity.

We waited about a half-hour for our wave to start swimming, and during that time, I was able to get my gratitude in order. How lucky was I that everything worked out and everyone was so nice? I even broke my ponytail holder during this time and the woman in front of my took her extra off her wrist and gave it to me! The attitude of being happy and grateful to participate was contagious. I entered the water in excited anticipation.

swim espirit de she 2016The rest of the race was pretty much history. (I know, right? You thought this would be all about that race! Wah wah. ;)) Once I entered the water, my drama went away. I swam quickly, playing follow the leader with the other woman in my wave who swam out front of it with me. We swapped the lead several times as we maneuvered through the slower swimmers from the waves in front of us. It was not my favorite swim as it was the most crowded one I have ever done. We exited into a long transition, running to our bikes as I pulled off my wetsuit. It actually came off pretty effortlessly despite having no Body Glide on my body (yup…forgotten).
bike espirit de she 2016We hopped on our bikes, and started off. The woman who came out of the water ahead of me took off. Letting someone gap me like that is generally ok with me, because whomever I come out of the water with, they are 97/100 times a MUCH better biker than me. This was a two lap “criterion-style” closed course for the bike, which I actually enjoyed a lot. I liked the closed course because it allowed you a lot of freedom from decision-making of passing and having to be super mindful of traffic. I pushed pretty hard on the bike, looking to see what kind of gains I had made from improved strength training and more time in the saddle lately. I was not quite to the point “Dear God, when will this end?”, which is my typical end of bike feeling, when we rolled to the end of the course. However, the fun part was about to begin.

The run started in transition and my goodness, my legs felt like crap. I haven’t practiced a bike to run transition or workout since last…June? and it was obvious. Parts of my body were clearly pissed that I was running. So I slowed, trying to stay conservative, which just led my mind to all the thoughts of quitting one more time. I crossed over the threshold into the “deal-making” stage and made a deal that if I just kept running, I was fine with however slow I wanted to run. So it got slow! But at about 2-2.5 miles, I actually started to feel better!  I was like “Great, the run is ending and NOW I feel better?” LOL. Ran it in fast and then just laid there with a cold towel on my face for a few minutes outside the finish line.

bike susanI was so relieved to be done and happy to have made it through. Looking at my splits, my run was negatively out of proportion with my performance on the swim and bike legs, so it will be the main focus as it has been for the rest of the summer. I took my extra coupon from the race and used it to sign up for the international distance at the Chicago Triathlon in the end of August. Between now and then, I’d like to get in a few more races. Mostly because (when you’re prepared) they are fun and I enjoy it. Plus, you’re done early and can still grab breakfast, which is really the part I excel at.😉 (As anyone who was on the Stevenson High School swim team in the mid-90s can attest to my breakfast-eating prowess.)

Takeaways: Being on time and being prepared is really important. Do these two things and you’re most of the way there. The race is just the fun part! 


Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 9.36.42 AM

Damn, that shit actually works...I thought to myself as I stated at the computer screen mulling over the data from the last 4 weeks of training. 

I’ve just completed my first four week block of triathlon training. I have hesitated to call it “triathlon training” because I wouldn’t want to explain later what happened if that shit blew up in my face. 

When I started, I told my strength coach Mitch that I was just getting invested in the process and not worrying about the overall plan details. At first I meant it to be kind of my failsafe in case I failed, but then I really decided to go for it.

He’s a big fan of process over progress, as am I in coaching my clients. He details it in about a million posts like this one, which I have to read often when I start to hyperventilate about my own goals. But as a coach and an athlete, it’s sometimes hard not to let your ego creep in. So this time, I really let myself feel like a beginner. There were lots of weak spots in my game to help me create that assumption- I hadn’t really been doing much cardio, and I hadn’t been running at all. So it was easy to be really gentle on myself as I ramped up training. 

What was harder was living with the fact that I would only be able to do so much. I had a training plan- one that I wrote to begin in January- that had set me on the path to competing in Triathlon Nationals in Omaha in August- that never got started. Because #life. Probably not worth detailing, but suffice to say that moving to a new state +single parenting while Mr. Prepared worked in a new location+closing a business = didn’t happen. 

So my current plan is 16 weeks instead of 8 months, and I’m just sticking around Chicago racing, not headed to Omaha. That’s what feels doable, although my ego keeps telling me it’s not enough time anyways. I keep telling my ego to STFU. I’m winning the war, but occasionally it wins battles. Like when I pinned myself trying to get a new 5 rep max on my bench press last week. Well played, ego, well played. 

Being invested in the process has given me a lot of tangible wins. First off, I am mostly enjoying training. I mean I love the biking, swimming and lifting parts of training. Running and I have that kind of dysfunctional, codependent relationship that great melodramas are made from.😉 

Also, I’ve grown personally from the training I’m doing. I have been doing a really good job moving away from being overwhelmed by the plan laid out in front of me by getting back to the process and the  training task for that day or even that moment. I have lots of joyful moments in appreciating what my body is able to do. This practice helps me stop becoming overwhelmed in other areas of life, which is easy to do when you’ve moved your family to a new place. My ability to live with presence has never felt so strong. 


Almost a year of data in this notebook. It’s what I do while I rest between sets. Well, that and dance in my seat. 

In the process, I have seen progress. Lots of it. By treating myself like a beginner, I’m able to notice all these progress bits. It helps to do things like sit with the data, or at least be mindful of splits, paces, and distances. And while data and plans are nice, being immersed in the process is infinitely more joyful and will continue to motivate me a whole lot more than a spreadsheet of numbers. 


Data’s great, but it doesn’t always tell me the whole story. 

This Mom’s Rack

We moved to a new state recently (as you can see by my absolute neglect of this blog!), and with that move I have had to find a new gym in which to train. Well…let’s be honest. I joined two gyms. (Gasp!) Put it this way: I calculated if I drink two less bottles wine per month (or just one really good bottle), I could easily afford the second gym. (I am well aware that this is not how finances work in most adult people’s heads. To that I say…whatever.) So I joined the YMCA, which is a reasonable place for a woman of my age (mom-age) to workout and it has 2 pools. And then I joined this other gym.

“Other Gym” has 10 squat racks, 15 lat pulldown machines (I was told this during the tour- I didn’t actually count), and I am easily one of the least in-shape people in there. Which is saying a lot, because I am in pretty good shape. Not like “look good naked” shape, but “can rock a pair of skinny jeans and a tank top” shape. I texted all of this to my coach Mitch (yes, I have a coach…I’ll get into that later, but let me just say…it’s the bomb!) and he was like, “This gym sounds perfect!” I rolled my eyes, and thought that of course it sounded perfect to him because he’s like 30 and jacked and I am like…older…with stretch marks…and I’m a mom.

I needed Other Gym though because it was pretty perfect for me, actually. Since last year, I have developed a pretty serious obsession with learning how to weight train with barbells. I’ll enumerate the reasons why lifting is awesome and changed me in many good ways in other posts, but for now, let’s just say that I needed a place with plenty of space to pick up heavy things and put them down. Which this gym has in abundance. Which is how I came up with the magic Wine Formula to justify its cost while driving home from my free trial.

So let’s go back to the main clientele of this gym…which is not middle aged women who don’t look good naked (there are some middle aged ladies there, but they are like bikini competitors, so we’re aren’t even playing in the same league there). The main clientele of this gym is young-ish dudes who are either a) seriously jacked or b) wanting really badly to be jacked (some of you moms out there may have sons in this category?). So they are generally either a) pushing, pulling, or throwing tons of heavy weight around or b) doing bicep curls and watching the young men from the first category.

And then there’s me.

And I walk in with my lifting shoes, my book where I record my workouts, and maybe like a lacrosse ball because I am old and I have things that hurt that might need to be rolled out because they’re getting old and tired. And I get one of a couple of reactions:

  1. Most common: The raised eyebrow…like a “Did that lady take a wrong turn somewhere? The cardio machines are at the front of the gym.
  2. Also common: The blank stare…with the thought, “What…the…hell.. is happening here?
  3. Not so common, but mostly from the “B” group boys… The crestfallen face with “Damn. I’m about to be outdone by an old lady” written all over it.

But since I have been practicing under coaches both in person and online for more than a year now, I feel pretty confident about my barbell skills. So I screw up my courage, find a place among the 10 squat racks, and do my thing.

susan ogilvie squat

The squat rack two down from the white one. Yes. That’s where I’ll be.

And after a few warm-up sets when my bones and joints and all the other things get back into the places that they need to go, the young men seemed to put away their reactions and get back to what they were doing. A few keep their eye on what I am doing, but I think that’s pretty normal in the gym. At least…I think that’s normal to be stared at, right?

My coach from Michigan sent me a text saying, “You just keep lifting heavy and someone will come along and want to be your lifting partner.” Somehow, in the group of young bros, I am a little doubtful of this actually happening. Which is OK. I get it. No one wants to have to rescue somebody’s mom when her heart gives out in the middle of a back squat on their watch (I know, I’m not that old to you…but to them? Ancient.)

So I have been on the lookout for a woman partner. The women who venture into the barbell area of the gym typically come in two varieties, and there have been a total of 4 of them in the month I have been there.

  1. Girl following boyfriend or boy…friend. Not lifting, just watching because she’s done with the cardio.
  2.  Women who are hell bent on using the cable machine in the one of the squat rack areas. I can’t really explain this phenomenon. There’s plenty of cables other places.

My wish is that more women would find the same kind of empowerment and strength that I do in barbell training. It’s been an incredible experience to lift and learn some really important physical and mental lessons about myself. In addition, I have made even more peace with my body and found a way to totally appreciate all that it does for me. These lessons aren’t just unique to me, though. Through the magic of the interwebz, I have met many women who feel the same way about lifting heavy things. Just that most of them don’t live in a 10 mile radius of me, or I haven’t met them yet.

Until I do, I’ll be standing in my (self) designated mom’s squat rack. That’s the 6th one down the row.🙂



Me with the Mighty Mac bridge in the background.

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It’s usually about this time in the summer when I get to some real fatigue with sticking to a training plan. I should know this about myself by now- I can be really “bus bench” (Dan John term) focused on a training plan for about 5 months, but as things start to linger beyond 6 months, I like to stray. And this week proved to me that I haven’t changed.

Fortunately for me, I have become a *teeny* bit smarter so that I don’t fall completely off the plan and start doing Zumba, but for sure, I am not one to be a complete rule follower. My older sister might say it’s the Gemini rising sign in me. She’s probably right- at least I can’t think of any other reason I have such trouble sticking with a plan for a long duration. On the upside, it keeps my life interesting, spontaneous, flexible, and FUN. Since fun is kind of one of my core values, training plans can sometimes seem a little “un”fun.

I knew I had been slacking a little in the speed and power category of training- one thing I think I have been consistent with in this training cycle is duration- getting the distance down. The distance/duration aspect has always been a challenge for me, and definitely will prevent me from trying some kind of insane long distance racing like Ironmans or marathons for the time being (probably forever). So, I have been proud of getting those long swims nailed. Looking at the calendar for this week, I realized I had a 5.5 mile swim on the books. My shoulders sagged a bit, and my fingers hit the keyboard. Jackpot. I could do a triathlon this weekend, bank some “mileage” on that event, and swim a little less.

Of course, let me explain that I know very well HOW a training plan works. I just don’t CHOOSE to do it the way it’s written. I understand that these choices may have CONSEQUENCES, but those are what I am willing to deal with, and this blog is just a way (for the time being, anyways) to record those choices and how they affected my overall goal achievement.

And YOU’RE WELCOME. My gain or blunder can only be a benefit to you– you don’t have to make these mistakes because I am already making them for you!😉

So, without further ado….

Monday 7/27- 2.4 mile swim in Trout Lake- thanks to Vicky and Joe for hanging out til the moon came out!
Tuesday 7/28- squat + deadlift
Wednesday, 7/29 – nothing (I’m not really sure what happened here)
Thursday, 7/30- bench + 30 minute run (trying to make up for Wednesday, and “prep” for the triathlon, LOL)
Friday, 7/31- squat + deadlift

Let me just stop here and say that one thing I learned is that 48 hours is not quite enough time between squatting and racing. Since the race was truly intended to be a workout, I understood that this may happen. But if you plan to race, don’t assume 48 hours is enough. My legs were TIRED on the bike.

Saturday, 8/1- pool swim (short pool 23.5 yards) – 2 miles
800 WU 
800 pull
8×100 moderate pace ~ 1:15/94 yards (short pool, remember!)
400 pull
4×100 fast pace ~ (1:10)
200 pull
2×100 sprint (1:06, 1:08)

Cooldown  — Idk. I know I hit two miles, but I have to add lengths here and there to get to two miles, which in the short pool is 150 lengths.

Sunday, 8.2- Wolverineman Triathlon, Halfmoon Beach, Pinckney Rec.

I just have to say that I love doing Epic Races races. Not because I just think their team is great and they helped me with my fundraising a ton (they did! THANK YOU!), but the whole package is better. The crowd is a little more manageable, the vibe is friendlier, the swag and food is always tons better, and there was beer at the finish. BEER. (I didn’t drink any because I had some swimming to do after, but…BEER.) And most of the ones I have done- the run is partly on trail, which my knees and hips appreciate, and I like it aesthetically so much better.

highlights and lowlights: I started the race and had immediate drag on my chest as I was swimming. I was like “What the heck?” and thought maybe the elastic on the top had blown out or something, which would have been a bummer. But then I got out and was like, “Oh, you forgot to zip up your top, dingbat.” <– Typical. Zipped up top, got on bike. Bike will be a big focus for me if I choose to keep racing tris next summer. i haven’t been on as much as I wanted to be, and thus, the specificity aspect of going fast on two wheels has suffered. So the bike was slower than I hoped. I was very familiar with the course, however, as I have ridden those roads a lot. Run was pretty good, considering the hills/trail. A big thanks to Bart for pushing me through the beginning of the run. He picked up my pace after I dive-rolled the bridge crossing (ow!), and kept me going until he peeled off to finish his mini-sprint distance about halfway through my run. I kept after it, with my main goal being to not walk, and not slow down. I am pretty sure I accomplished both of those things. However, i have no working Garmin data to prove it, LOL.

wolverineman triathlon

My hair was staging a rebellion against braids, clearly.

Overall, as is my theme of “always the bridesmaid, never the bride”… ended up 3rd OA, 1st in 35-39 AG. And thus I got some sweet new socks.🙂 Gotta be happy with the race as a workout and the result. I am slower than last year, but given the volume of sport-specific training I have done, I am working above my expectations for this kind of event.

After I got home, I ate a giant egg/cheese/bacon sandwich. Then, my lovely neighbor Julie, paddled alongside me as I swam 2 more miles in my home lake. And then I was pooped.🙂

This weekend we head to Sleeping Bear and Lake Michigan…more swimming, YAY!

The big weeks of training arrived during these two weeks. I signed up for Mighty Mac Training Camp, which took place on the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan near Saugatuck July 18 and 19. The swim event director, Jim “The Shark” Dreyer, has some beautiful property along Lake Michigan and set up this whole camp for us to attend, which was so generous and awesome. All of the people I met that attended the camp were very cool. My friend Ross from Minnesota was even in the Mitten, and so he came down for the Saturday long swim day on his way back home (not really on his way, but!…). In “Minnesota nice” fashion, he brought me a Minnesota Master’s swim cap (complete with inadvertently inappropriate image) and his favorite paleo snack bar! It was very awesome to connect with people in person, and makes me look forward to the swim in September.

swim cap

if you look at the image on the cap just a certain way….😉

The goal when we got out in the water on Saturday was to swim as much as we could/ as much as we cared to do. A storm had blown through and there was one headed in later. So after hearing a little from Jim and introducing the team (medical and support from Tim and Dave, who helped us ALL weekend!, as well as Katrina, who is our swimmer liasion/all things Mighty Mac :)), we got started. We had a half mile course along shore, which was “uphill” one way and “downhill” on the way back (I forget who christened it that, but it was true). The downhill would make you forget you were tired and you would head back out for another mile lap, only to remember how tired your shoulders were the last time you made the trip. I made it my intended 5 miles, and enjoyed some company from Jeannette the first 4 miles. That was good because we were a little on our own. I cramped badly at 2.25 miles in the calves, and that was when it hit me that I could very well drown out there. I panicked a little, but rolled to my back to try to stretch out the cramp. My electrolytes fueling strategy that had been working for me in my previous training was definitely not working during this swim. I guzzled extra Gatorade to try to ward it off, and actually my calves felt better by the last mile than they did during miles 3 and 4. It took a few days for that tightness to go away. Tim, the paramedic, mentioned that cramping was actually generally an overuse thing than a lack of electrolytes. I wonder if this is something a little NKT could fix.

Anyhow, Jim took time to evaluate our strokes, and his feedback to me was super positive overall, with a few corrections that came as no surprise. I swim with my head too “high” in the water and let my lower body sink a little as a result. (Or, as one coach told me, I swim like a speed boat rides). I know this, but I have a level of anxiety about putting my head down farther, as if it somehow blocks me from seeing what’s ahead (it does). I worry about running into things with my head, rightfully so, as I ran into someone about mile 3.5 while I was trying to swim with my head in a more neutral position.  I am working with trying to adjust it, but it definitely comes at a sacrifice for comfort and sighting in the water.

Lake Michigan storm mighty mac swim

Storm blowing in across Lake Michigan Saturday night

I holed up in a hotel on Saturday night while a storm blew through and apparently missed some of the cool stories Jim and the other guys had to share over the fire. I’m glad I didn’t really think that I was going to camp. Stories are no trade for a warm shower and a cozy bed!

Sunday was beautiful morning after the storm, and we headed out to Oval Beach in Saugatuck for more training. That morning we ran up dunes and down stairs, did pushups, planks, and crawls along the way up and down. It was fun and a good chance to talk some more about training with others who were doing the same event I am. So far, I haven’t talked to a lot of people in my situation, so normalizing it by comparing training plans was great.

Mighty Mac Training Camp Oval Beach

Oval Beach, Saugatuck, before Day 2 of Mighty Mac Training Camp

After getting all sandy doing “turtle crawls” (Me: “I am getting sand in my mouth!”/ Scott: “Then you’re doing it wrong!”), we tried to wash off in order to get out wet suits on. The objective was to be tired before we jumped in the water again. I felt surprisingly good that morning despite the 5 mile swim the day before, after which I had hurt in all.the.places.

We headed for the pier, almost a mile away, with the intention to swim back afterward. I think I stuck pretty closely to the 2 miles, while I know a couple of others were closer to 2.5 or more miles!  (It is actually hard to swim straight without the little black lines, LOL)  While we swam, crawled, and then rested, Jim entertained us all weekend with his stories of swims that he had done, and if you ever get a chance to talk with him or meet him, you should— his stories are hilarious!  He has swam all the Great Lakes, pulled 2 tons of bricks across Lake St. Clair to raise money for Habitat, and bunch of other amazing swims.

I came home exhausted, and that didn’t wear off the rest of the week. So I took it easy last week, feeling pretty confident after my weekend out on Lake Michigan. I am super excited to hit the home stretch of training and conquer the Straits on Labor Day!

Monday 7.13- 2 miles swim, Trout Lake
Tuesday 7.14 Squats, Deadlifts
Wednesday 7.15- rest (kayaked!)
Thursday 7.16- Bench
Friday 7.17 – Squats, Deadlifts
SAturday 7.18- 5 mile swim, Lake Michigan
Sunday, 7.19- run/hike/strength stuff, 2 mile swim, Lake Michigan
Monday 7.20- rest
Tuesday 7.21- squats, deadlifts
Wednesday 7.22- run, 45 minutes
Thursday 7.23- bench
Friday 7.24- squats, deadlifts
Saturday 7.25- 1.5 hour road ride, Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Fun! Hills!)
Sunday 7.26 – unplanned rest day

I choked on my morning coffee a little when I read a FB post reminiscing about the Mac swim one of the previous Mighty Mac swimmers posted on her wall last week. I flashed through the statistics…5 hours of swimming, 1 mile left, 51 degree water, crazy currents…I swallowed hard and thought, “WTF am I doing?”  I mean I am the first person to support challenging your limits, but I seriously considered that maybe I don’t have what it takes to finish this challenge.

I have received numerous photos and texts from friends and acquaintances passing over the Mackinac Bridge that say something to the effect of “Thinking of you!” over the spring and summer. And every time I receive one of those texts, I inwardly cringe. After the latest one I thought, I shouldn’t be less than 60 days away from this event and still inwardly cringe! My list of “shoulds” was getting pretty big, and then I remember my older sister’s best advice: “Don’t should all over yourself.” 

mighty mac swim

Thinking of you swimming across!

So I go back to doing what I do best, which is putting my head down and doing the work. I will do all the work I can do that fits into my world, and it’s OK that I don’t have the best wetsuit, or swim every weekend on a Great Lake, or log 5 miles swimming 3 times a week. I am doing everything I can do that is within my ability, and past experience tells me that it will be OK and it will be enough.

My long swims are going by kilometers. It’s just way easier to measure in my world. Which is Google maps. Because no one bought me a Garmin Swim for my birthday.😉

Sunday 7/5: 6.5K open water. Felt really good. A little boring, but really good.
Monday 7/6: 45 minute run — I mixed this in because I didn’t feel much like swimming and that ear is still bugging me.
Tuesday 7/7: Strength. I might be ready to talk about this soon.😉
Wednesday 7/8: Swim- open water, about 2 miles. Might have been a little short, so I added about 20 minutes of kettlebell swings and some other stuff.
Thursday 7/9: Strength.
Friday: rest/ prepare for one of the littles birthday parties!
Saturday: Strength.
Sunday 7/11: 7K swim. HA! This is where things got interesting. Total mental block at 7K because I can’t remember the last time I swam 7K. If ever? Probably I have, but it escapes me. So Mr. Prepared was totally my hero, and I wouldn’t have finished (or escaped my two seaweed panic attacks) without him. He canoed the first circumnavigation of the lake with the girls in front (loaded up with snacks I packed).  Then he did a couple out and backs with me. Then the girls got out to play in the yard. He switched to the paddleboard. It was obvious to everyone this was becoming an epic, not just a workout session.

I quit at about 6.4K because I was sick of the rub from my wetsuit on my neck and I saw a CARP the size of my upper body about 4 feet below.  I got out of the water. He sent me inside with the directions to eat something, take off my wetsuit, and come back out. He had the boat out to idle alongside me, and I was like, “I can’t do anymore.” He just waited me out, and finally I got my cap and googles back on and finished the last out and back.

Thank goodness he was there because I had put the limit on myself that 7K wasn’t gonna happen, and he stood by me until it did happen.

Takeaways: Beware the limits you set on yourself! And– high-quality deli meat sits pretty well as a salty, high protein food that won’t upset your horizontal stomach. Word.🙂

bruce lee limit quote

Limits are self-imposed. Courtesy of Motivation Grid.


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