adventures of a mere mortal in fitness and life

Archive for the ‘Vail Valley’ 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.




race report: LG Splash/Grind/Sprint 2013

Unexpected race report!

It may not be the Boulder Peak race report that I imagined myself writing this summer, but I got an unexpected treat in being able to race last weekend.  While Mr. Prepared was in MI for the weekend, my lovely friend Christine insisted on taking my children for a sleepover on Friday night so that I could race in the local LG Triathlon on Saturday morning.  This plan was concocted over a few beers on Tuesday night, and while the idea of resurrecting Team Hot Mess for an Xterra relay team this weekend didn’t pan out, I did register for the LG.

I was so happy to be able to do the race for several reasons, as this was the first triathlon I ever did back in 2010 and I have been doing it every year since then, and because it is local, low-key, friendly, and fun.  And apparently, my friends decided that I needed to race.  Which I did.  Pretty badly.

It was fun to hang out in the transition area and see my neighbors, swimming buddies, and other people from the valley that I know come together for a local charity.  The women that organize this race in honor of their friend do an amazing job.

The swim was in the pool, which is decidedly not to my advantage and it takes a really long time to get through to the last swimmers, but it was quicker than last year, so we started about an hour after the first wave of swimmers started.  I never get in a rhythm on such a short swim (500 yards), which probably means I would do better with a swim warmup in a pool event next time. In open water, I really don’t get in and warm-up in the water, as I just can’t stomach being cold and then getting in cold again.  I guess I could use some expertise about this, as everyone has told me to warmup in the water before a race, and I have never followed that advice.

Bike was great and predictable, as I have ridden that course more times than I can count.  I tried to enjoy the moment and soak it in, but also continue to go as fast as possible. I am anxious to start looking at TT bikes for the future, as I feel that I have outgrown (is it my belly? LOL) the geometry of my road bike with clip-ons.  I hope a TT bike would feel better and not like I am constantly having to shift my position in the saddle.

One thing I noticed about the run was that my endurance is definitely lower (expectedly so) than last year. I didn’t feel like I had a lot left when I headed out for the last leg, and I ran probably the last half-mile with my eyes closed, which for me means that I am really suffering.  I am in Week 3 of a 7 week plan to build myself back up again before I race in MI, and I am hoping that my endurance continues to build with that.

Anyhow, it was fun and a relief.  Like I said, the volunteers here at this event always are amazing, the cause is so important, and it was so great to race one last time in my hometown before we move.

Individual Sprint
5 Susan Ogilvie (115) F35-39  2/17  6:37  0:53  37:45  0:41  28:59 1:14:52.6

my favorite workouts #1: Green Gate Brick

Since we are within a month of leaving the beautiful mountains of Colorado for our new adventure in Michigan, I feel like I want to capture some of my favorite things about where I live.  Luckily, many of these places are right outside my own door.

One of the greatest things about getting fit and losing weight is that I have been able to get out and explore more of Colorado and my hometown.  Sadly, for many years I didn’t even fully appreciate all the trails, rides, and paths we have in our little town.  Many of these have been publicized in a great trail book called Mountain Bike Eagle, so if you do ever venture to Eagle, you can check them out too!

My favorite brick workout is a short but tough climb up the Boneyard on the east end of town.  When I started mountain biking last summer (disclaimer: still a total novice!), I used the Boneyard road to learn some basic MTB handling and climbing.  It was nice and wide, and I still fell a lot, but I wasn’t scared sh*tless that I would fall into a ravine or off a cliff learning to ride.  Now I use either the road or the trail (depending on how balanced I am feeling) to climb to the first connection between the road and the trail – the Green Gate.

Green Gate view. Early morning, Summer 2013.

Green Gate view. Early morning, Summer 2013.


When I started, I used to just ride to the Green Gate on the road, then ride down.  I would throw my MTB bike in the car, put on my running shoes, and run up the trail part to the gate.  When I got better at this, I would use the trail for both loops – MTB and running.  Sometimes, I ride for time up the road, which often takes me past the gate, and then I run.

The best thing about the Boneyard is that it is super flexible.  This version is the shortest, but there is another connection that would add about 20-30 minutes to your total workout, and then there is the option to do the full Boneyard trail, either on bike or run or both.

I love this in the early morning and see if I can knock it out in under an hour, or take more time and go farther if I have the opportunity.  Morning is the best time to do it before it gets too hot.

Tell me your favorites!  


who's gonna stop me

So now that I hit the “STOP” button on the treadmill of life, jumped off for a break, and am ready to move in a new direction, I cannot tell you how much better I feel.  Physically and mentally.  Literally, my stomach stopped hurting as it has pretty much ever since I “decided” I was going to shoulder this job that I didn’t want.  I haven’t felt this motivated or empowered in a long time, and I feel like I have my life back to me.

And of course, I have a plan.  It would be unlike me not to have a plan, but sometimes you just have to jump without knowing all your options, right?  So I was thinking about what lay ahead in the future for me, thinking about what I have done in the past and whether I cared to return to that place.  Which I really don’t.  I am not ready to grasp at straws yet.

I want to enjoy work and be motivated to do it.  And as I looked around at what inspires me, the answer became pretty obvious.  I want to help people achieve their goals and dreams.  What I love about teaching adults is helping them on the path to reach their goals.  I share their feeling of accomplishment that they have when they finish their course successfully or pass their GED exam or learn more about reading or math or grammar or anything.  I want to do that all the time, and if I can’t do it always in a school setting, then there are other places I can do that.

Becoming a personal trainer will fit in with what I love to do, and it is extra special to me because I know about struggling with my weight, my self-confidence, and all the mental BS that held me back for many years.  With my students in my adult ed classes, I still have a hard time relating to their struggle because I never struggled in school.  But losing weight, getting fit?  I know A LOT about that struggle.  I want to help people enjoy becoming athletes if they want because I know how much joy racing and triathlons give me, and if I can share that passion with someone, that would be awesome!

I know it isn’t going to be easy, and maybe it seems cliché, but I am determined and I know I have the intelligence and motivation to do this thing right.  And it is so gonna happen because the right reasons are keeping me moving forward toward my goal.

a tale of two runs…

So this weekend marked the 1 month countdown to my first half-marathon, an event which I was excited about doing this early in the season for several reasons.  One, if I want to do a half-Ironman triathlon this summer, I am going to have to run a half-marathon at the end of it, so I figured it would be good to get really cozy with this distance as soon as possible. Second, we got this beast of a dog around Thanksgiving (her name is Daisy, but everyone calls her Supermodel) and she needs a good amount of exercise, and she loves to run.  So why not train to do a half-marathon?

Today’s schedule called for a simple 12-mile run, just for “time on the legs”.  (Coach Evil Genius and I started back up this week and apparently she ain’t playing around).  We were at my sister’s house, and I was procrastinating, not really wanting to wind my way around a town with which I am not intimately familiar in the heavy snow for 12 miles.  My husband and sister suggested I head out on the road out toward Buffalo Pass but keep going straight until I reached the private school, about 5 miles in.  So finally I started out, running from Spring Creek trailhead on the road, feeling OK.  At the turn  to Buff Pass, I turned right with all the traffic and started out along a flattish road, which eventually turned into a steeper road.  And a snowier road.  Until I got about 4 miles into the run, looked at the top of Buff Pass and realized I had gone the completely wrong way.  Which would explain all the damn hills that I thought my husband and sister had just been underestimating for my benefit to get me out of the house.

Which led me to Lesson #1 for the day:  When someone is giving you directions, you should pay attention to what they’re saying.

To make matters worse, I realized that my stomach was kind of cramping.  Pretty badly.  On a low traffic road, but with snow drifts about 4 feet high on each side.

Which led me to Lesson #2 for the day:  ALWAYS go to the bathroom BEFORE you start running.  ALWAYS.

So by the time I got back to the car, I was doing a serious “dance” and I jumped into the car and booked it out of the trailhead.  I roared home in time, and after, I unleashed a barrage of blame on Mr. Prepared– about not reminding me to go to the bathroom, about wearing the wrong socks, and about how stupid ultramarathons, marathons, half-marathons, and generally any running over a 10k is.  I told him I was quitting the race (he’s running the marathon) and that I never wanted to talk about doing a half-Ironman again.  Which pretty much precipitated our hasty exit out of Steamboat.

As we rolled home to Eagle in the Land Yacht, I started to relax and fiddled with my iPhone, reading my emails and whatnot.  I came across this post from my favorite blogger, Swim Bike Mom.

Which led to Lesson #3 for the day:  I cannot let fear make decisions for me. 

Part of my agitation all day was the fear that I couldn’t even run for 2 hours, or even 1:30.  Everyone says to me, “Oh, did you run like 10 miles today?”  but the truth is I had never even run 10 miles before. But I couldn’t (and can’t) let the fear of something I had never done before rule my decision-making process.  There will be a lot of things in my life that I have never done before, if I am lucky.

I turned to Taylor and asked if I could finish my workout when I got home.  I figured I had about 30 minutes more if I just needed “time on legs”, as the Buff Pass debacle hadn’t really afforded me good mileage coverage.  He agreed, I apologized, and I told him that I wasn’t going to quit on him and that I didn’t really think he was an idiot (maybe a running fool, but not an idiot).  So we got home, I went back out and finished about 35 more minutes of running on the familiar path, and went home feeling about 100 times better than when I arrived at my sister’s house in Steamboat.

So while it isn’t usually ideal to break a 2 hour run into 2 parts, today it was essential, because today 2 runs were way better than 1.

getting comfortable with discomfort

Ahh….a day off.  I mean, a day off in which I am completely disinfecting the house after a close brush with death flu and both of the children are running around since they are “feeling better”.

It’s been a while since I posted last, since I have been attempting to drink from a fire hose balancing a new position at work, family, and training.  You remember, training? For a trail half marathon I felt quite confident would be no problem way back in November when I suggested it to Mr. Prepared.  The new position at work has really been challenging, as it is a really busy time of year with the start of a new semester at the college.  In addition, just learning the day to day of who to call about what and what to do has been slightly overwhelming.  It has definitely put me out of my comfort zone.  Enough that I have found myself throwing some mental temper tantrums with a few bouts of tears thrown in, but you know what?  It’s good for me.

It’s a good idea to get uncomfortable in life.  Nothing ever changes if you’re always comfortable.  And I was getting pretty darn comfortable, I guess. I mean work was pretty dialed in, I had set some pretty serious but achievable racing goals for myself this season, and the kids were settled into a routine we have been doing for a while now.

Getting uncomfortable means that you have to expand  your “solutions playbook” and keep adjusting to what life is throwing at you.  More than a few times these past few weeks I have said that I think this new situation is too hard and I no longer wanted to continue.  But whether or not I wanted to, I had to keep pushing on.  As I push on, it gets easier- the new position, the training, finding balance between life and work.  And the opportunity to become a new, stronger, better version of myself has emerged.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

Today I ran a new lactate threshold test on the treadmill with my “poor man’s Garmin”- a HR monitor strap and a piece of paper.  I ran faster and was able to hold a higher heart rate than the last test I did at the beginning of August last year.  I couldn’t imagine I might be in better shape than I was in the beginning of August- particularly after taking time off and not doing any consistent training.  But I guess I could be at a new base level of fitness that I didn’t have last winter.  As I ran the Boneyard last week in the snow, I remembered that I had just started trail running last March with Mr. Prepared.  I remember how uncomfortable that experience was the first time I ever did it.  And while trail running can certainly get uncomfortable, I know how lucky I am to be able to continue doing that, and it’s still as enjoyable as ever to push myself up the hill and be alone, singing out loud in the sunshine.

Lastly, if you think I am just plain nuts after this post, I messaged Swim Bike Mom about how one could possibly stand riding 3 hours on a bike trainer.  Her message?  Get comfortable with the pain.   So I guess if I am crazy, at least I have some good company.

attitude of gratitude

I went to visit a friend who had to have emergency surgery this week over what is a pretty much a freak occurrence that could have happened to anyone.  She’s on the road to recovery, but it stopped me in my tracks (once again) about how many things in my life for which I am grateful.

Many of us, including myself, take for granted the bazillion wonderful things that we have or experience in our lives on a daily basis.  One of the biggest shifts in my life growing into maturity was to stop looking at things from what I call the “deficit perspective”.  As a young  (immature…selfish…childish…) adult, I bemoaned the fact that I didn’t have money to travel to Europe, or take an unpaid internship, or get a new car.  It felt like “everyone” else got to do these things (which wasn’t really true) and I didn’t.  And I had a lot of very special things given to me or shared with me by my family, so I am not really sure where that feeling came from.

What I did come to realize over time is that I had so many wonderful things in my life that were so much more important than backpacking through Europe.  I had a wonderful husband, a great family, steady work, a place to live, and eventually, healthy children.  I live in a beautiful place that others envy, we have jobs that fulfill us, and while we can’t say yes to everything we want, we certainly aren’t destitute.

So when things get hard, as they certainly did this week while changing our lives around, I have to be mindful of how grateful I am for life, and for the life I get to live in particular.  I am so damn lucky, so when setbacks occur, I remember to stay positive.  And I try not to think things like how life could be so much worse, or think about what I don’t have, but just simply try to be grateful for every gift I have been given- family, friends, fulfilling work, a beautiful home, and my own body.  I remember to be thankful that I am able-bodied, and that got me through a lot of tough workouts this summer, and I know it will come in handy again, probably soon (yikes!).  I have to walk the talk every day, because (as cliché as it sounds) I only have one opportunity to live this life.  And I am very happy to be able to do it.

gratitude quote

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