adventures of a mere mortal in fitness and life

Archive for the ‘biking’ Category

I Shall Be Released…

Taken from the song of the same name by The Band…

One of Mr. Prepared’s jobs is to make the Road ID bands/tags we have for running and biking. On my Road ID tag, under all the pertinent information is the tagline “Live the Adventure”. That’s kind of our motto…well, that and you can’t put “Harden the F*ck Up” on your Road ID (they don’t take swear words).

One year ago today, my husband took on a new project to rebuild Wilmot Mountain, our “home” mountain in the Chicagoland area. He did a pretty good job, as you might have seen here, here, and here. He and his team worked their asses off- another summer/fall of little mini-vacations, lots of weekends worked straight through, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears. We’ve dedicated a LOT of our time and resources, as well as hopes, dreams, and fears, to this project and the one at Mt. Brighton in Michigan.

A year in to this project, and I realize that maybe we have lost our purpose and our way as a family. When we left for Michigan, our goal was to do new things, meet awesome new people, and have lots of new experiences. These experiences would eventually line up to something even greater than what we were already enjoying in our lives. I mean, living in Colorado for 15 years…we were already living the dream. In terms of those people who always wanted to live in Colorado or “out West”, we had already made it. He had a great job with his corporation, and I was building up a new career at a community college. But something pushed us to wanting more…to getting a taste for something new and big where we didn’t see the finish line yet. We wanted to live the adventure.

So we set off to the last place someone might see as adventurous…metro Detroit. But man, would you be wrong about that! When I was in my early “crying in the car every day” phase, I likened moving to Michigan to moving to a foreign country. I mean, who eats hot dogs with chili on top, and why do these people think it’s ok to live down the street from their parents? (Lesson learned, Michiganders…totally ok to live down the street from your parents…!) The people in Michigan were the most welcoming ever- they literally would try to give you the shirts off their back. Mr. Prepared is a pretty private, introverted dude, so these kind of huge displays of hospitality always threw him (and pretty much all of us) for a loop. But my gosh, did we feel the love! So much love we sometimes had to step back into our house and regroup. As for adventure, we found all kinds of ways to find it.


The adventures in Michigan were not always what one would imagine living in Colorado. In Colorado, “adventure” is easy- a new bike trail leading to the edge of wilderness, a little known tree glade just inside ski area boundaries- these are all adventures that many of us imagine. How many of us imagine what an adventure it is to see Flint and Detroit up close, with your kids? To experience the beauty of the Mackinac Bridge (or swim the span of it, as I did to raise money in 2015 for Habitat for Humanity)? What about to learn up close and personal on opening weekend what happens when a lift cable falls off the bolwheel? Or if you build a lift on top of a septic field? Some were more traditionally adventurous, like can I link a bridle trail with the longest running trail in the metro area? (The answer is…not if you’re not prepared to deal with a lot of horse poop). Most people might find these to be hurdles to overcome, or minor hassles to be dealt with. But the Ogilvie family dove in, eyes wide open, to experience all of this and lots more. We took Sunday “wunderwugens” (name patent pending ;)) all across Michigan. I started my own business, made it successful, and created an international network of health and fitness professionals for myself. Some of the coolest and most amazing people I know came out of this short, amazing period of time.

When Mr. Prepared was invited to come and reinvent Wilmot, we assumed we could (and would) keep living the adventure. Wisconsin seemed up our alley in terms of its outdoor opportunities. And living in the Chicago metro area brought us technically to “home”, although we hadn’t called it that in over 20 years. We assumed that everything would be as it was in Michigan and that it would all turn out ok.

We know what assume means. And everything did not turn out ok.

While nothing is technically wrong, nothing about our lives seems the same as before. We have seen some lows in our family relationships that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. We’ve changed schools, visited therapists, and struggled with the kind of disappointment and anguish (both parents and kids) that makes one wonder, “What is the point of it all?” I lost my business (at least the in person part), any semblance of a career to return to, and as a family, I think we have lost our way a bit. We haven’t made the kind of networks and connections that will always make Michigan and Colorado so dear to my heart.

Today marks one year of Mr. Prepared being in his position with Wilmot. We are technically released from certain work obligations. And we are jonesing to experience our family motto once again. We are looking to settle in a community where we are welcome and can contribute with the many gifts and talents that have been bestowed upon us. The Ogilvies are ready to live the adventure again- wherever in the world that takes us for while so that our kids can feel at home and right with the world. We are drawing our pirate map today, this weekend, and going forward, so that each of us can find our treasure in living our adventures.

ogilvie-family

 

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the race that almost wasn’t

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! 

 

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Mighty Mac Training Week of 7.27.15

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!

2014 race season review

In early September, I struggled to decide that my 2014 racing season was at its end. I was a little depressed about this as I listened to others talk about their upcoming races and watched my husband prepare to complete his second 100-miler in October (success!). However, I know that I have nothing to be depressed about, as I look back on my season and see that I made significant progress and accomplished a lot of goals.

My 2014 “big” goal was to complete a half-Iron distance race. Some people use the term “1/2 Ironman” but I didn’t do an “Ironman” branded event, so I think we will call it what it is. I completed Rev3 WI Dells in about 6:30:XX, on a tough course on a hot day. What a beautiful course! I learned a lot about what to do and how to prepare in hindsight. I thought I was more prepared than I was, but I realize now that I probably hit my peak of training about 3-4 weeks after this race (on the next peak!). This is helpful to know how to plan for next year, although given a more normal winter, I might have had enough time in the saddle outside on the road to prepare for a half by the end of June. I also learned a bit about course selection (although everyone will tell you that every course is tough), there was an awful lot of vertical on that course for which this (now) Midwestern girl was not prepared! Additionally, I think I overtapered-I strayed off plan a lot the last 2 weeks before the race. I do not taper well, and I should know that by now, but as it was my first long event, I deferred to Mr. Prepared as to how I should feel heading into the race. Overall, I think I did OK considering my preparation and the course. I nailed my nutrition and hydration, which is often a rookie mistake. My goal for next year will certainly be to crack 6 hours at this distance.

Finishing with the family- a REV3 tradition!

Finishing with the family- a REV3 tradition!

The weather was also a factor in prepping for my half-marathon at the end of March. Training went pretty well, although I realize that I should have put in more long runs prior to the event. Also, I know that shoe mixing is important! I ran pretty exclusively in one pair of shoes for a couple of months prior to the event, and my feet paid dearly on race day, and for a couple of weeks after. I don’t think it was entirely the shoes, but I do think they played a role in addition to my lack of multiple long runs (10+ miles). My goal was to finish under 2 hours, and I got pretty close- 2:01:XX. I feel pretty certain I can improve on that number in the spring, provided I am consistent with my running frequency, which I have found is the key to injury prevention for me.

A picture from Sarah before my half-marathon in March- those girls are one reason I race.

A picture from Sarah before my half-marathon in March- those girls are a BIG reason I race.

Thus, lessons learned in the early going of 2014 were to be more prepared- train up to distance prior to the race more often, don’t taper too much, and plan for peak fitness later in the season.

I started my tri season with a bang- winning my first “First Overall” award at Island Lake Spring Tri at the end of May. I totally should have done the Olympic, but kind of chickened out and went for the sprint. It’s OK- I love to sprint, what can I say? And that course seems to love me too.

Woot Woot! 2 Buck chuck and a duffel bag for the winner. :)

Woot Woot! 2 Buck chuck and a duffel bag for the winner. 🙂

I had some fun doing my first adventure triathlon at the Battle of Waterloo in July. What a blast! This is the kind of race for me, I thought. Again, my fitness was better, although I can’t say I went crazy training after the half-iron, but I was certainly consistent enough to see gains. This race has prompted me to consider doing a similar race in New York called Survival of the Shawangunks in the next couple of years, as well as get my butt on my mountain bike consistently in order to train for some Xterra off-road tris.

More fun was had a few weeks later at the Age Group National Championships in Milwaukee, WI. My goals were to enjoy the experience and get my Olympic time under 2:30:00. It was easy to accomplish the first goal, as USA Triathlon did an awesome job and the venue/course were excellent. My time was a little off the mark- 2:31:31.  I could have done a better job training after BOW. I didn’t. Olympic distance races don’t scare me anymore, and I knew I wasn’t going to be fast enough to make Team USA, so truthfully, I know I blew off more workouts than I should have, and my bike leg definitely suffered as a result. I didn’t blow off the big bike workouts, but I did blow off the little ones, those that added speed on top my endurance.

in Milwaukee

in Milwaukee

 

I wrapped up 2014 outdoors with a 100 mile charity ride with an awesome group of riders. We had a great time, and while I was probably not ready for 100 miles, I managed it. I had to take 5 days off after, but I managed it. 😉

Riding the GM Proving Grounds during the Tour de Livingston

Riding the GM Proving Grounds during the Tour de Livingston

This racing season had some magical moments that I have waited a couple of years to achieve. It’s amazing to track my progress with this blog, although the evolution of this blog is at a bit of a stagnant stage. Some days, I catch myself looking in the mirror and wondering, “Who’s that?” I still don’t recognize my own image. I remember very vividly how intimidating a 5k seemed, and what a mess I was after my first one. Sometimes, it’s hard to brush off comments like, “Oh well, it’s just a 5k-that’s nothing for you!” because it wasn’t too long ago that it was TOO MUCH for me. I am proud of how far I have come, but I know I have a long way to grow- to continue to learn as I train and teach.

Training Update: 7 weeks to go!

So for those of you not in the know, I have about 7 weeks to go until my first 70.3 triathlon race.  I would call it a half-ironman, but I really hate that term- when I run 13.1 miles, I can’t stand the term half-marathon, and I really don’t think busting my butt for 6 hours should be considered half of anything.

I have rewritten this post twice because the first 2 times were super, super whiny.  Admittedly, my “why can’t I go to IKEA and eat lingonberries and let my children play at SMALAND on a Saturday like everyone else” self as the culprit for these drafts.  They were both quite, quite, small-minded.

Today I busted out my big ride, and I did it in no half-ass fashion (unlike last week, where I broke it into MTB riding and road riding).  It’s quite amazing what 10 hours of good sleep + a day off will do for a person. I got on the Dark Horse ( that’s my pretty speed machine bike) in Stockbridge, rode the Waterloo Rec loop for recon on a future mission, and did Chelsea-Dexter-Ann Arbor to finish it out.  Which is pretty awesome.  I love going places via bike that I have never gone before.  This gives me an opportunity to see things I don’t see via car, like a geodesic  dome farmhouse, or a Harvestor Blue Silo, which is something that you only see in the midwest and also Mr.Prepared’s grandfather created and sold the patent for these to Purdue (ok, I know that fact is boring, but still!)

cool, huh?

cool, huh?

I rode into Ann Arbor to the bike shop for a re-fit on the bike as part of my ongoing “let’s be intelligent about training” process.  I think I have a few key factors that have made the difference in this season going forward:

  • Training. I have used Endurance Nation as my coaches for the season.  These guys have built triathlon training for the age group athlete to a science.  I respect that as I build my own business that they have their own mission and success dialed in, and I can only hope to be as good as Rich and Patrick at what I do.  I am certainly sold on the model and the advice that these guys give.  I just have to remember to get my ego out of the way.
  • Injury Prevention.  Shawn Kitzman of Synergy Movement Therapy has been a literal game-changer.  Many of you know I stopped running in the fall to try to give physical therapy a chance to work.  With Shawn’s Neurokinetic Therapy (NKT), I no longer have to wait to see if something works in a couple of months.  He must truly be one of the best at what he does because I have lived with hip pain for a couple of years.  In the first few weeks of working with him, I kept checking my back pocket or purse for a missing wallet or phone because I couldn’t figure out what was missing.  It was hip PAIN!  He is amazing, such that I am thinking about adding NKT to my practice by getting certified in the fall.
  • Dialing in the bike.  Between working at Hometown and finding a great crew at Transition Rack in Ann Arbor to help me with my TT bike, I have gained a ton of confidence on my bike in terms of fit, fix, and find.  I found my beautiful bike, I can fix it now, and I have resources to fit it too.  Lucky me.

Most importantly, I know that I am grateful and honored to be able to do what I do.  Many people would love to be able to race, ride, and run like I do most days without thinking about it. Trainer Guy once told me something that has stuck with me almost every day:

I am grateful for the day. I am grateful that I am alive in this body and that it can do what it does.

I know this mantra will carry me through Rev3 WI Dells and the rest of my race schedule because I am racing with a grateful, happy heart.

REV3 Wisconsin Dells

why triathlon matters…

Sometimes I have a real GUILT TRIP about the amount of time, money, and emotional investment I make in triathlon.  I am certain that there is a fair amount of the general population that thinks one of 2 things:

1. “Seriously, does that woman just need an expensive, consuming hobby?”  (to which the answer is NO and YES, possibly)

and 

2. “What do we care about some almost middle-aged lady doing sport?”  (Hold up, I am getting to that…)

On the treadmill this morning (the day my Friday run becomes an outside run will be the most GLORIOUS day of my life this spring!), I had my headphones off and was checking my cadence when I instead heard one middle-aged man call out another middle aged man in the weight machines section of the gym. The first man must have been complaining about soreness, workouts, the cold, or something of the sort to the second man.  Then the second man goes, “Oh, stop acting like a girl!” 

EXCUSE ME?  What did that man say?  (In the first man’s defense, he was offended. Not offended like me, who took most of my self-control not to jump off the ‘mill and punch the dude.  Show him how a GIRL acts.)

What is it about women and sports?  WHY does inequity still exist in 2014?  Why do stereotypes continue to exist for women being serious athletes?  

Sochi 2014 will be the first year that women will be allowed to participate in ski-jumping.  As far as sources can date, women have participated in ski jumping since the late 1800s or early 1900s.  So now, over 100 years after the first recorded women’s jump, we are just now getting around to adding it?  And since we have finally added women’s ski jumping, what about Nordic combined?  We already have both races separate (x-country skiing and jumping in one event, for those not in the know)…why not Nordic combined?

Women have the same goals, drive, and passion to pursue sport.  In fact, many have shown themselves to continue to be passionate for sport long after their ship was supposed to have sailed (try telling that to a woman!), and in particular I think of Olympians Dara Torres and Janet Evans mostly due to my swimming background.  In my personal experience, I played on the University of Michigan women’s water polo team while women’s water polo was on the cusp of NCAA  sanctioning.  We were a club team, but that was a very important role that we played despite the fact that no one will probably ever know we existed.  However, the USA gold medal team of 2012 was anchored by a goalie that used to stroll the sidelines of our practices as a mere teenager after school.  I am sure that this early influence was not lost on her; otherwise, where would she have been when women’s water polo became a varsity sport in 2001? 

While more opportunities exist for women to compete at the highest levels than ever before, many stereotypes continue to exist for women and girls.  Women have an important role to fill as lifelong ambassadors of sports- creating a more equitable playing field for the next generation.  As a fitness professional, I feel a responsibility to continue to both make sure that my girls include fitness and activity as part of their lifestyle.  As a mother of girls and an athletic competitor, I feel a responsibility to make sure that my girls have even better opportunities than I did to compete at the highest level at which they choose to achieve.  The strongest way to live out that commitment is to be a role model to those girls every day of my life.    

 

It thrills me that triathlon became an NCAA sanctioned sport for women this year.  It validates my own work in the field, as well as that of my friends all the way up to professional competitors.  My heart sang when my oldest daughter told me she wanted to compete in her first triathlon this summer.  However, if she told me that she wanted to start Nordic combined, you can bet your bottom dollar I would be there making sure that there were opportunities for her to act like a GIRL and compete to her heart’s content. 

adventures in getting lost

So we have successfully made it to our new home in Michigan, where no one told me it was going to be about 50-60 degrees, since it was 90-100 the last time Mr. Prepared left.  Since of course I didn’t get much working out in while we were on the road and the Ogilvie Farewell World Tour, and since our stuff was supposed to be here Sunday but it was postponed until yesterday (oh! Yay!), I told Mr. Prepared I was going to ride my bike early Sunday morning.  I picked an old rail trail that had been converted to asphalt (since the speed of drivers + lack of shoulder + total lack of knowledge of where I am is petrifying) to do my first bike ride.  I looked at the map, determined how I would drive to one of the end points, and flipped off my phone.

Now, I know we live in the age of Google Maps and voice-activated driving directions, but I really do pride myself on sense of direction and being able to read a map.  However, I got so turned around in driving (first in the entire opposite direction of where I intended to go) that a 12 minute drive took almost an hour.  I won’t even mention the fact that I tried to drive to the start of the trail which was across the lake from the actual parking lot.  Not. Actually. Possible.

However, I was so relieved when I arrived at my destination that I promptly coughed up my money for an annual out-of-state parks pass (less than ½ the cost of a state parks pass in CO!) and drove in.  It was like a triathlete gathering!  There were people on their bikes, people open water swimming, people doing beachside yoga.  I wanted to like wave my hand and be like, “Hey!  I’m new! Anyone want to let me ride with them?” but I didn’t because I am a totally self-conscious chicken shit, if I am being honest.  So I just hopped on my bike and started riding my planned route.  I didn’t see any of those riders on my route, so I am not sure where they were biking, but maybe I will find out soon?  I did see one guy (it was hard to miss the aero helmet and full disc wheel, truth be told) going around and around doing laps on the park road.  If so, I am not sure why.  The route I went on was not the prettiest, but at least I was going somewhere.  I went through 3 counties, which seems impressive when you come from a county as big as Rhode Island (Not truly impressive.  One time Mr. Prepared ran through 3 states in one run, and that sounds way more badass.)  I did parallel a major interstate most of the time, but I figured that wasn’t too different from home, and at one point I saw people playing actual CRICKET.  The GAME.  Pretty cool, huh?

Monday I played it safe, used my voice-activated Google Maps, and worked out in a gym that we got free week passes to Sunday afternoon.  It’s actually freezing here, and I thought I might be cold outside in all those shorts and tank tops I brought for the “Midwest heat”.  Also, I wanted to try out my new shoes I got (along with excellent free advice and video analysis AND feedback about my running form!) at The Running Lab in Brighton (thank you!).  After running, I was still too chicken to work out in the weights section, so I did my weights upstairs in what could best be termed their “old weights we didn’t want to throw away yet” section.

New adventures bring out new habits, and I am trying to make good ones here.  I am looking forward to waving to people I know soon, instead of waving and looking like the crazy girl.  Actually, people here are so friendly, they’d probably just wave right back.

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