adventures of a mere mortal in fitness and life

Archive for the ‘Wellness’ 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.




whole30 recap: change your life in unexpected ways

I walked by the book It Starts With Food yesterday and realize I have been shirking my duties in writing a Whole30 experience recap. I was particularly struck by the tagline “Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways” because that is exactly what this experience did.  I have outlined some of those ways in my previous post, but I want to be more specific and complete in this post.

Shockingly, the biggest takeaway from the Whole30 was that Mr. Prepared and I grew a little bit more into sync with each other again.  After a brutal winter ski resort season in which EVERYTHING was new, compounded by moving across the country, moving from an apartment to a house in the fall, and all the stress that comes with everything being NEW (jobs, doctors, schools, etc.), we were SHELLED.  We were tired, irritable, unhappy, anxious people.  And the only person each of us could vent to was the other.  We had no in-person support system (we are working on it and the network is improving!) at first, so the tears, the frustration, and the stress were often directed at each other.  This experience was the first fulfilling, long-term “project” we have worked on together in a long time.  We are healthier and happier people as a result of this “commitment”, and we are finding our ways of growing into this community, seeking out people and opportunities that enrich our lives personally and as a family.

While Mr. Prepared has been bulletproof in sticking with the Whole30 principles, I have slacked here and there on some things.  But you know what?  Everything I thought I missed so much isn’t really all that great.  Cheese? Meh.  Yummy Greek yogurt? It was OK.  I haven’t even gone back to bread or grain products- I really don’t miss them at all.  (OK, other than beer.  I had a few beers.  Yes, they were good, but I don’t have time for beer right now!)  So I imagine that most of those “needs” we make up in our mind about foods we “couldn’t live without” are just truly in our mind.  Food is so closely tied to emotion and memory for me that I know I still have some mental work before me to get these things a little more in line with “normal” emotional attachments to food.

Unfortunately, I have become a food freak.  By freak  I mean that I have gotten on my soapbox more than a few times, and even muttered under my breath at dinner the other night that the American agricultural industry is trying to kill us (what?  It’s probably true.)  My stance about food is a little too extreme for most people, and that is a dangerous combination with my work as a personal trainer.  I am toning it down A LOT for clients, but if anyone really engages me in food conversation, they are bound to get an earful.  I am sure it will all turn out to be bogus in the end and you can have the last laugh. But until then…you have been warned.

But what you really wanna know are the stats, right?  You want to know if it WORKS.  Everyone can define this differently, especially since it isn’t a “diet”.  I had been told there was a magical, mystical Whole30 land where you could have boundless energy and sleep like a princess.  I also secretly wanted to look ripped like one of those Crossfit competitors.  If those were the showing that it “works”, then no, I didn’t start eating unicorn rocket fuel or photo-shopping my mirror.  Here’s what happened:

  • Sleep.  I have slept like crap pretty much since we moved.  When we started Whole 30, I was sleeping about 4-6 hours a night.  I knew I would NEVER make it through training for a half-Ironman on 4-6 hours of sleep a night.  I get sleep now.  I get very nice, rested sleep.  I can go back to sleep if I wake up.  This was HUGE.
  • Smell. About the fourth day in, we woke up and rolled over and I realized we didn’t “smell” like night sweating and restless sleep.  We didn’t smell at all practically.  I had pretty terrible night sweats up until I started this (more on that another time) and they are pretty diminished now.  We also both recognized more healthy levels of sweating while exercising, whereas before I don’t think we were sweating enough.
  • Thirst sensitivity.  I could tell when I was actually thirsty instead of forcing myself to drink a required amount of water in the day.  Since there a little controversy over “how much liquid is enough/too much” I figure improved thirst signals meant I was headed in the right direction.
  • Weird aches and pains.  Mr. Prepared has had an ache on the outside of his knee since oh, 2011.  He reports no more ache.
  • Bowel movements.  C’mon, we are all adults!  To sum it up: before=not regular.  Now=regular.  If you need details, try it yourself. 😉
  • Eye of the tiger.  I may be dramatizing this a little.  I had a bike power test on Day 18 of the Whole 30.  Many sources said that your workouts will feel flat the first 2 weeks, and they did.  But I swear that as I got ready for that bike test, I could feel and access a bunch of energy for it.  Maybe I just did a really good job of psyching myself up for the test, but maybe it was Whole30?  Anyhow, crushed the bike test!
  • And for you scale slaves… OK, I admit I was a scale slave too before Whole30.  Part of Whole30 is that you can’t weigh yourself for the 30 days.  I had to have Mr. Prepared hide the scale.  That was pretty revealing.  I had lost and re-gained the same 6 pounds 3 times since New Year’s prior to Whole30.  I was fairly obsessed.  Not so much anymore.  I am down 7 pounds.  Mr. Prepared is down about 15.  Also 2% body fat for me.

We changed our lives in expected and unexpected ways.  We are trying to keep in line with the Paleo thing for now (this is much trickier, as the slope is more slippery), and get the kids more on board.  My main goal in the next 10 weeks is figuring out racing and training nutrition that fits within the scope of racing efficiently and eating well.  Tomorrow is my first big volume day (5 hours!), so we will see how it goes.

If you have any Whole30 insight you want to share, please do in the comments!




things I didn’t think I would learn on a diet: 2/3 of the Whole30

some of you are gasping right now, thinking, “But the Whole30 is NOT a diet!” Haha. Shows you what I knew when I signed on to do it.  I haven’t thought about any change in eating food as anything OTHER than a diet in…probably my whole life.

I challenged Mr. Prepared to do the Whole30 food “commitment” (that’s what we called it- I think that’s what they called it in the book It Starts With Food from which the Whole30 premise is laid out) in early March.  I figured we could do almost anything for 30 days, and we had a host of assorted issues that we were curious to see if they would cease if we changed our diet.  I will get to those issues in another post at the end of Whole30, since we are only a little more than 2/3 done.

The book.

The book.

Mostly, I am surprised by the things I DID NOT expect to change or learn about myself on the Whole30.  Learning new things about one’s self at this age can be wonderful blessing and a terrible realization.  There are some things that I would not care to admit about myself, yet I know I need to fix them to truly heal my relationship with food and drinks (I mean, let’s be honest, I was a pretty champion drinker for most of my adult life.)  Some of the blessed “horrors” below that I learned will be invaluable going forward.

  • I learned that I definitely have a food addiction.  I use food (and drinks) for things other than fuel and nourishment.  I use food to comfort me, de-stress me, make me happy.  Now I know that we all do that to a degree, and I used to do it a heck of a lot more often than now, but there were unhappy, stressful times these past few weeks when my first reaction was to reach for a food (or a glass of wine) to make me feel better. I think it’s important for me to continue to reinforce patterns where I use other means to medicate stress.
  • I am a BLTer.  BLT in Weight Watchers used to stand for “bites, licks, and tastes”.  The first week of Whole30 I couldn’t believe how many times I had to put the knife spreading peanut butter or something like that away from my mouth (or even spit stuff out a few times!).  I had been unconsciously eating a LOT of BLTs.
  • I don’t know how to properly savor my food.  The book emphasizes the importance of satiety and sitting down for a meal and savoring it to get your brain’s satiety signals to work.  I realized that I hadn’t sat down for a breakfast or lunch in a LOOONG time.  I made it my goal to sit and eat every meal.  I tried to remove the screen time when I was alone, but that’s definitely still a work in progress.  But now as I imagine having a piece of chocolate, I imagine sitting down, savoring the ONE piece of good chocolate I would eat instead of trying to shove as many Hershey kisses in my mouth as possible. While standing.
  • Snacking is neither necessary nor helpful.  I was in an “eat every 2 hours” habit, along with trying to fit in “pre-workout fuel” and “post-workout recovery fuel”, etc.  I was eating ALL the time.  The more mini-meals I had the more it just turned into grazing. The book emphasized the need for one to eat ENOUGH at each meal to sustain one to the next meal.  I have really done away with any pre-workout fueling, and there is some evidence to show that there are some advantages to working out in a fasted state.  Since I do most of my work currently first thing in the morning, this is easy to accomplish.  After I am finished, I can eat one of my meals.  That’s not to say I have given up snacking entirely, but I am working on it.

These are the most important takeaways from the Whole30 food commitment, although the discussions that Taylor and I have had have been rich and thought-provoking about food, drinking, fueling, and just about everything.  We have also had some good discussions (and some um…disagreeements) with the kids about good food and what good food looks like.

Stay tuned for more lessons learned when we finish!  I am running my first half-marathon of the season tomorrow, so that should be another opportunity to gather information.

Making Space for It to Come In

Most people who don’t race themselves often shake their heads in wonder as to our sanity as a couple when it comes to endurance racing. I think that the blogger Just Another Endurance Junkie says it best in her post here (mostly the 4 paragraphs below the kissing picture of Rinny and Tim O’Donnell).  I have posted these below this post too- truly read it, it’s worth the perspctive.  

If you read it and get it, you just get it.  If not, think about the things that you are into.  I always try to honor what people are passionate about in an authentic way, even if I am not into it myself.  I love to see the different things people are passionate about. So much of our life is stuck in the drudgery of work, carpooling, and cleaning toilets that I HOPE everyone I meet has a passion for something.  I think it rocks that you LOVE geocaching, Jesus, Mother Earth, yoga, or whatever.  Go on with your bad self, and honor my desire to do the same.

If you find yourself feeling passion-less, I have one suggestion: Make Space For It To Come In.  Create space, time, and place for a passion to grow, take root, and turn your life upside down.  Right now, I am having a really hard time with this concept.  I alternate between freak-out-need-to-get-a-job-any-job moments and making the space for my dreams to work themselves out.  I really want to pursue health and wellness as my career, and I am taking the steps to find work, but I know that I need to make space for my dream career to come together too.

I know that it is coming, though, because I have moments when there is a glimpse of the vision. Talking to the owner at the local grocery store today about school food, nutrition, and the state of wellness in our area gave me ideas and insight that feed the fire.  I can feel that food and the role it plays in people’s lives is going to play a part in my dream career.  Even talking about it with a new group of people tonight I could feel something so big I almost need to get out of its way.

earl-nightingale-quote.jpg w=500&h=644

But now, when I write it down, I have a panicky what-if-it-never-happens moment.  However, I feel confident that I can do this.  There have been other moments like this.  For example, I made a space to devote to running, and over the holidays, I found the FUN in running.  I ran 8 days in a row from Christmas to New Year’s.  I made the space for it to come, and today as I ran, I know my running is solid, strong, and ready for what’s coming.

I am no longer afraid of being injured, or slow, or not able to run the distance ahead.  I just need to make the space for the dream to come and take root and turn life upside down.

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