adventures of a mere mortal in fitness and life

Archive for the ‘Eagle’ Category

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!  

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.

close encounters of the bear kind

Anyone who feels that road biking isn’t close enough to nature because say, it’s on a road, has probably never biked much.  I find that my road biking nature encounters trump all the other activities I do combined.  There was my squirrel encounter in Sacramento, the bird pecking incident a month ago or so, and today, the pièce de resistance…baby bear encounter.

Yep, out of some tributary creek comes little baby bear, all wet and adorable looking.  It’s loping up to the side of the road, ostensibly to cross to the other side.  Here I come, all sweaty and loud, rolling along on my road bike.  I look up, we lock eyes, I scream.  I think the bear actually jumped, kind of like my dog Rocky leaps up when the kids scare the shit out of him.  I must have scared the living daylights out of the baby bear because it took off- fortunately in the other direction.

I took off too.  If there is one thing I (think I) know, the momma bear is usually not far behind the baby bear.  So I stand up and start sprinting, thinking: Well, I know I can’t outrun a bear.  Can I out-bike a running bear?  I didn’t even turn around to find out until about 100 yards away.  No momma.  Maybe mommas are done raising babies at this time of year, but I sure did not stick around to find out.  I glanced down at my heart rate monitor as I could feel my most vital organ about to rip out of my chest- 168.  I was probably in the mid 140s when I first rolled up to the baby.

Fortunately, the rest of the ride was uneventful.  But I have to say that these kind of encounters, despite freaking me out, make me so thankful for the beautiful place in which I live.  However, I am drawing the line at moose encounter.  If that happens, I might be forced to initiate a hobby with less wildlife contact- like, say, hiking.

race recap: LG Splash/Grind/Sprint 2012

There is nothing better than getting to do a triathlon that you can bike to from your house, is there?  Probably not.  You get to drink your own coffee, sleep in your own bed, check facebook before you leave…what?  I got up really early.

I rolled by Christine’s to pick up a race belt on the way to the pool, where the swimming and transition would take place.  I did have a race belt at some point but have since lost it, prompting Mr. Prepared (the husband) to get frustrated.  “How can you not have everything you need?” he shouted in exasperation when I pulled out the handle from an old CD case to create a makeshift belt.  And the answer truly is that it seems like every race requires different things, but all the races require A LOT of things.  Triathlon just requires so much…stuff.

I arrived at the pool where the parking lot was filling up right at 6 as transition opened.  Now this is a cool, little hometown race done in honor of a local woman who passed away from cancer.  It’s run by volunteers, and every dollar goes back to helping other locals in medical crisis, which is why I do it.  Well, that, and since it isn’t a USA Triathlon-sanctioned event, I figured there was a chance Lance Armstrong might show up (many thanks to my friend Rob for that joke…).

The swim is in the pool, so it takes quite a long time to get everyone through the swim leg.  I gotta be honest, I didn’t like this part.  There were people finished with the race by the time I started swimming (almost 3 hours after I got there), and I tried to warm up like 3 times before I swam by running around the block, but I got in the water cold from sitting.  I unknowingly got in the lane with top-notch swimmer, former Mayor Ed Woodland.  He lapped me during the swim.  It was pretty demoralizing, and my swimming feel like a struggle. And unfortunately, due to a counting error (ours), we both swam an extra lap, which I didn’t know at the time.  Thank goodness, because that would have made me feel worse.

Anyways, I couldn’t have been happier to be out of the pool (I know, it doesn’t even sound like me!) and on my bike.  This bike course is like home turf.  I ride it all the time, so it was great!  Christine had made me ride on my new aero bars all the way back from the turnaround on Wednesday, so I felt ready to use them.  Trainer Guy had showed up before I started and gave me some last-minute tips.  I would summarize his bike advice as “don’t panic about the burning feeling of death creeping into your lungs as you start biking, it will go away”.  Which was true, and since I didn’t panic about it, I felt SO much better when it went away!  The bike section was awesome – I saw all my usual horses and my little pony.  I used my aero bars all the way back from the turnaround, and I was flying! It was an amazing feeling.

bike leg!

The run was…well, running.  You know how sometimes running feels amazing and you feel free and powerful, and sometimes it feels like…running?  This run was one of the latter, but I did feel better at the end than I did at the beginning of it.  While I ran, I thought about when I first started running a couple of summers ago, and how that run used to be SO hard for me to do all by itself, and it made me smile to think of how far I have come.

I was looking at my watch towards the end of the run, and I thought I had started at 8:32, and I was thinking I missed my goal of doing it in 1:20 or less.  I figured I was close, so I still had to be happy about how I did.  However, I was wrong about my start time, and I actually ended up doing the race in 1:13!  (Now here you might ask why I didn’t use the stopwatch feature on my watch and the answer is…well, this is me we are talking about)

me and sarah. love.

My time was good enough for 3rd place overall in women, which was really awesome!  I got a goody bag of organic hair products and sunglasses, which was super cool.  And I am happy with how I did on the transitions and the bike leg especially.  It was a good way to start a Saturday, and the hubby, the kids, and I all biked home together, which is pretty special.

a few of my favorite things…

The before picture. I’m a little nervous.

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday, which I had been trying to celebrate every day this weekend so as to assuage my guilt for going to work last night.  I talked with the kids to make a list of “Dad’s favorite things” to give him or do with him all weekend.  Their list was pretty much what you would expect from a 3 and 5 year old- they came up with “The Muppets” and “breakfast in bed”.  So Friday night’s dinner was followed by The Great Muppet Caper (he was actually thrilled) and Sunday was breakfast in bed (not as thrilled).

Monday night we headed out for a date, which I concocted from what I know are 3 of his favorite things: running, tacos, and beer.  I agreed to run a trail he frequents on the west side of town.  Personally, I have found my comfort zone on the Boneyard section of trail on the other side of town, and I have been reluctant to get lost, I mean explore, the side we were headed to.

The threatening weather held just fine, with the cloud cover actually giving us some relief from the day’s hot temperatures.  The trail was dusty but in OK condition as we wound through the sage, pinyon pines, up and over School House Rock and into Hockett Gulch.  Taylor billed it as a “recreational run”, which meant he was bounding ahead like a gazelle and I was huffing and puffing to try to keep up.  It was fun and beautiful when we got to the high point (don’t ask me where).  At the top, I did a little happy dance that I had mostly survived.

Being out there reminded me of when we were younger and we used to hike and camp as many weekends as we could.  I love to be alone and outdoors with my best friend in the world.  As I grew heavier and older, we did those kinds of activities less and less.  I could come up with a hundred excuses for why I wouldn’t go for a hike or spend the weekend backpacking.  Today, I feel so grateful to have the opportunity to do these kind of things with my husband again.  It doesn’t matter if it’s just for an hour instead of a whole weekend, I value the time more than I ever did when my time was my own and fairly limitless.

I know that one of the reasons that I wanted to lose weight was so that I could go out and hike, backpack, and do things like that again without feeling tired or strained by it.  I don’t think I ever imagined that I could hop onto a trail and run for 5 miles, or that I would be so happy doing it.  But I do know that feeling like I could take on any physical challenge again has probably been my favorite thing about losing weight.  And I know that I will not take anything for granted this time.  Plus, tacos and beer taste just a little bit better when you know you have already burned them off.

Amazing! The after photo!

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