adventures of a mere mortal in fitness and life

Archive for the ‘Training’ Category

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. 🙂

 

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Mighty Mac Training Reflection

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Me with the Mighty Mac bridge in the background.

(more…)

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!

Mighty Mac Training Week of 7.5.15

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.

 

Mighty Mac Training Back half of June 2015

Well I know I skipped a week there but I didn’t skip a week of training. It’s actually perfect this time of year to get out in our local lakes and I took my last swim with a wetsuit for a while on Monday.

My schedule shifted pretty dramatically with the girls getting out of school June 19, but I got in some great swims last week with the push of a few friends.

Week of June 15-21

Tuesday: Long swim – about 3.5 miles in my lake. Received the expected talking-to when I got out of the water from my well-meaning neighbors, who told me I needed to tell someone when I would be out there (I did), and what if I got a cramp (it wouldn’t be the first time, but I plan for it and now it doesn’t happen), etc. My shoulders and everything felt really strong and smooth throughout.

Thursday: Speed and stroke work swim – 3300 yards. I was thinking this might be my last visit to Hartland pool for a bit, so I headed in with the intention of doing my last 800 time trial. After warmup and about a quarter of the way in, I realized it might have been a mistake. After the tri on Sunday and the big swim Tuesday, the choice to do this on that day was not the best choice. And it showed: time was 10:43, not my fastest time. I just flipped the rest of my workout to stroke work and IMs after the time trial. I didn’t have it in my to do more freestyle.

  • 400 WU, 8×50 build
  • 800 Time Trial time: 10:43
  • 8×200 IM -25 drill, 25 swim
  • 100 cool down

Sunday: (almost) Half distance swim- open water swim 1.5 miles.

Week of June 22-29

Last week I switched my schedule around for work and the kids’ vacation. In addition I am getting some coaching on lifting so my lifting days moved to Tuesday and Thursday. This makes swimming on the other days tricky because I have morning clients, so the swimming has to happen at night. Thank goodness I had some help and motivation from some friends. Claudia, Jo, and Scott all swam with me and that was HUGE. Unfortunately, by Friday  morning it was clear I had an ear infection. So I subbed in some running for swimming speed work over the weekend.

Monday: Half distance swim- Claudia swam with me at my lake and I had the chance to do some chasing/speed work with it.  And probably my last wetsuit swim for a while.

susan ogilvie mighty mac swim

Claudia and I getting our open water swimming done!

Wednesday my friend Jo texted me about a swim and we wiggled our way onto Winans Lake, which is a non motorized lake and that’s sweet because you don’t have to have that paranoid fear you might be sliced in half by a drunken boater. I swam a while with Jo and she pulled off when we caught up to Scott, who started a little after us. Scott and I swam until it was about dark. I swam based on time because I’m not sure how long the distances were on that lake- Scott had his GPS watch on, so I got a little bit of feedback. Either way, about 1:25 of actual swim time meant I had hit my long swim for the week.

Friday I ran because of the ear. Felt pretty darn good and splits were good.

Monday before I left for my parents I ran again, also felt amazing. Very weird- I haven’t been running all summer. Running comfortable sub 9:00 mile splits is pretty amazing for me without any run training this spring and summer.

Tuesday and Wednesday- I am at the 50m pool at my parents. Today was 3200m  before I felt like I might pass out- it’s 110 here and the pools cooling unit is broken, making it about 89 degrees for swimming. Definitely felt the cramps coming on and didn’t bring any electrolytes, which seem to keep the cramps away. Tomorrow I will be smarter.

Tuesday: 600 WU/200 drill/4×50 build/

  • 5×400 100 easy/100 moderate/100 easy/100 hard
  • 200 cool down

Last week my big girl swam across our lake- about a quarter mile one way with her dad canoeing beside. Pretty proud of her, but hoping my craziness doesn’t rub off on her. 😜

swimming torch lake

My daughter, future open water swimmer!

Mighty Mac Training Update 6.6.15

This was a great training week! Consistency is the name of the game for me, both in workouts and nutrition. Nutrition was pretty spot on this week, with the exception being the UH-mazing birthday dinner for Mr. Prepared we ate last night downtown. But how often do birthdays come around, right? 🙂

A big thanks to my husband, Mr. Prepared, for being the clutch player this week. He knows I become slightly insane if I get off schedule, and he has been awesome at helping me to get done what I need in addition to the fact he’s prepping for his own 100 mile run in July. Today he was my canoe guide through the Saturday afternoon chop on our lake. He said it was fun and a decent upper body workout, so I’m throwing it out there if you want to accompany me on a few laps of the lake anytime, I’m taking offers for help!

My left shoulder has been giving me some issues, but it went from feeling like crap midweek last week to getting fixed up by Shawn at Synergy Movement Therapy last Thursday to feeling awesome. For shoulders that see a good bit of use anyways. 😉 If you have an ongoing injury and you haven’t tried NeuroKinetic Therapy as a tool for actually fixing the problem, you should check it out.

Workouts this week:

Sunday: KB workout

Monday: Strength workout. Like a real workout in the gym. My coach says that one is still better than none in addition to the swings. I think I can be successful at one a week right now.

Tuesday: 400 WU, 400 drills

Main Set: 6×400 – 50 sprint, 250 moderate, 100 sprint, :40 RI
I bastardized this from a triathlon website (being honest), but these were hard as HELL. After the first one, I was like, “I’m screwed”. But I kept one and tried to keep them even splits. Died the last one.  400 cooldown.

Wednesday: Swings set, 300 swings + goblet squats, etc. I can break it down for anyone who is interested, but that’s not the primary purpose of this blog.

Thursday: 400 WU, 400 drills, 4×50 build

Main Set: 10×250- Inside/Outside Corners, 10×250, :30 RI
Odds: First 2.5 lengths sprint, middle 5 lengths moderate, last 2.5 lengths sprint

Evens: First 2.5 lengths moderate, middle 5 lengths sprint, last 2.5 lengths easy
Again, not as easy. The evens were the really challenging ones. 400 cooldown.

So I have created two workouts with work sets of variable intensity of 30+ minutes, which is where I need to hang for now. I have been sitting at a pace plateau for about 6-9 weeks, and I can feel it crumbling apart with sets like these under my belt. It feels awful while I’m doing the sets, but I have done swim/run/etc. prep enough times to know that for me, feeling awful = verge of a speed breakthrough.

Saturday: Open water swim, 2 miles ish. We calculated the distance across our lake via Google Maps, which is about .5 miles round trip. I like the accompanied swim, truly because our lake is an all sports lake, which is cool, but I don’t want to freak out jet skiers or boats- I feel safer for them and for me with a canoe or paddleboard out in the water nearby.

 

Mighty Mac Training-May 2015

So I am actually going to work on making this a habit, so I don’t have a month + go by without a post. I don’t write my workouts down (being as it’s wet and all when you’re swimming), so trying to hold them in memory for more than a week is an exercise in futility. 😉

A few highlights from May:

  • First open water swims are in. 3 so far
  • April 28- 800 pool time trial was 10:41.
  • I have switched over from 3x week strength to 4-5x week swings with higher rep basic strength stuff- goblet squats, presses, pushups, planks. Mostly squats, LOL. It’s a scaled version of Dan John’s 10K swings‘ new edition that he gave us at SW MI Strength and Conditioning Clinic. I am toying with the idea of writing a new program called Swing, Squat, Swim. I think it will be really popular. With like 3 people.
First OWS.

First OWS

May 25.2015-May 31.2015

Monday: MTB ride

Tuesday: Swings/squats/press + swim- 500 WU, 100/200/300/400/500/400/300/200/100- middle 25% of the distance is sprint/ fast, 500 cooldown

Thursday: Swings, squats, etc.  + 2.4 mile OWS at Trout Lake.

Some of you know that I have had a fear of open water swimming from earlier posts. I know, right? Seems so ridiculous and yet this irrational fear still hovers over me a bit. Trout Lake is pretty clear to the bottom of the lake. Being clear is actually more scary for me than water you can’t see through. So I only screamed in surprise twice, LOL.

Friday: Swings/Squats + road ride ending in beer. 🙂

Saturday: Pool swim- 400 warmup, 400 drills, Broken Mile, 400 cooldown. I did my first broken mile in late March with a time 22:05. Today’s time was 21:45. So some improvement, not exactly where i want it to be, but if I am honest, 2 of the last 9 weeks did not include any swim training at all. So it’s a fair improvement given the work I put in.

Sunday: Currently it’s raining hard. looking like a swing day and maybe a pool swim.

Post up your comments or questions, or your coupon codes for wetsuits. I’m in the market for a new full sleeve, but feeling pretty cheap about it.

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