adventures of a mere mortal in fitness and life

Posts tagged ‘Michigan’

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!


race report: Battle of Waterloo 2014

While my big goal this summer was to complete a half-iron distance race, this race was probably the one for which I was most excited. I mean, who doesn’t relish swimming with their shoes?

This race is truly unique in that it was 10 legs, 2 bike transition areas, 42 miles, lollipop-style course, and you were responsible for carrying your own gear. Which I totally had an awesome plan for…until my bag filled with water.  But I digress…

Anyhow- short summary of the 10 legs so that you can understand better when I am relating the craziness below:

  • 1.5 mile run – mass start; 20.5 mile bike to a second transition area; .5 mile swim across Clear Lake; 4 mile run; .25 mile swim across Mill Lake; 3.4 mile run; .7 mile swim across Crooked Lake; 3.3 mile run to your bike; 5.8 mile bike back to 1st transition area (the short way); 1.5 mile run (same as beginning)

I arrived early, and we started on time. My plan was to keep it slow and steady the first leg, as we had a long day ahead of us. I have been practicing my nose breathing while running a lot, thanks to the continuous hint-dropping of Shawn Kitzman, the amazing movement/manual therapy genius from Synergy Movement Therapy. I actually had to run the race without my HR monitor, since my Garmin strap thingy crapped the bed after 6 months. This was OK, though, because I had my breathing! As long as I could run and breathe through my nose, then I knew I hadn’t moved out of my aerobic zones and into my LTHR (or “Oh Shit” zone, as Shawn likes to call it). All told, my running splits beginning to end were INCREDIBLY consistent, as best as I could tell from my Garmin which ducked in and out of GPS range. AND, I never tired.  I mean, that was about the longest distance I had run in 1 day, EVER! Not that I was aware of that before the race!  A couple of people behind me on the first leg were talking about how if they weren’t out there, they would be “pounding out 14 miles on the pavement, so I guess we will just do it here instead…” and I blurted out, “WHAT? We are running 14 miles today?” and the guy was like, “What? You didn’t add it UP?” and I was like, “NO! I am really good at compartmentalizing!” And then I went into “Oh Shit” breathing for a second, but pulled myself together and got back in my box.

The plan on the bike was to HOLD BACK.  That was super hard. Every time I went to pass someone  who was just a wee bit ahead of me, I had to stop myself.  I told myself that I could pedal like the wind on the second bike leg if I felt up to it. So I held back- still at a good clip, but saving myself for later. This was a good plan.

As we entered the first swim, I was thrilled. I couldn’t tell how I was doing at all, but I was bunched up with a whole lot of ladies. I was like, “Look how great I am doing and we haven’t even SWAM YET!” So I stripped my backpack off, grabbed my bag with shoes and stuff, and zoomed into the water, passing a ton of people. The bag stayed on my back and the shoes stayed pretty dry, although they were pretty wet by the time I ran in them a bit and dripped water all over them from my tri suit.

First Lake- look how much fun I am having!!

First lake swim- look how much fun I am having!!

Running was going well, as it was all trail and gravel road, which is what I run on pretty exclusively.  There was a moment during that 4 mile leg (4th leg) which I realized that I was so blissfully happy to be in the woods and running in a race, but on a trail, and fairly alone, encountering enough people to feel like I was on course, but not so many as to feel bunched up or pushed or anything. It was GLORIOUS!  The varying terrain also made the runs go by quickly, which became more important as the race went on.

Lake #2 was upon me, and I had read that it was essentially chock-full of lily pads. I was rushing to take my shoes off and get in the water, as I imagined some of the women I passed in the lake had made up some ground on me in the run. I forgot to zip my bag and headed into the water. I felt the bag getting heavier (2.5 gallon Ziploc) and I was like, “WTF?” I turned over and tried to grab the bag. Unfortunately, the lily pads and seaweed were so thick you couldn’t tread water much with your legs, which meant that immediately, I was flailing trying to empty out the bag over my head without pouring out the shoes, gel, and body glide. Which of course came to the attention of the closest rescue kayaker who started vigorously paddling toward me. I waved them off saying, “It’s OK! I got this, my bag just filled with water! I am not drowning!” Anyhow, I mostly emptied the bag, stuffed it up my back, and pulled my way through the lily pads and seaweed, repeating “Don’t look down, don’t look down…” That swim was not for the open water faint of heart, people.  I hope everyone was OK out there.

The wet shoes were a burden for the rest of the swim/run legs. I searched at a couple of aid stations for Aquaphor (the aid stations were well-provisioned, including with bug spray, an evil necessity!) before finding some at the beginning of Leg 8, after the last swim.  The women there were awesome. They gave me salt tablets since mine had dissolved in the bag breakdown, and let me take 3 mini tubes of aquaphor to slather on my developing rubs. The swim at Leg #7 was beautiful and fantastic for me as a strong swimmer. I know that it was very difficult to have the longest swim last for those who are not strong swimmers, but that was part of the challenge and fun in my opinion.

When seaweed attacks...

When seaweed attacks…

The run back to the bike was the hardest. My feet hurt, it was starting to get hot, and I was tiring a bit. I kept after the breathing, walking as necessary on the hills when my breath became out of control. I figured I would let loose on the last 2 legs, since they would take about a total of 25-30 minutes. I had no idea how I was doing, and I figured I was pretty middle of the pack until I ran into transition 2, and someone said, “Third woman!” and I was like, “Wha!?” That gave me a surge of adrenaline and I just hammered the bike leg as hard as I could (it must have been very ugly to watch, because it felt ugly to perform!), dropped my bike in transition 1, and then ran like a maniac until I got alone in the woods, where I promptly… walked. I was pooped! Once I regrouped, I kept on at a steady pace until I could hear the announcer, and then I started sprinting for the end.

Success! I would call this race successful, although I had no expectations or goals going into the race about time or placing. My runs were incredibly successful, as was my strategy on the bike. Equipment wise, I think I did OK, although I would consider socks next year for the later legs? I did have a second pair of shoes to put on in Transition 1 for the first and last legs, but they rubbed in the same places as the other shoes, so it wasn’t much comfort. Fueling was easy, as I fueled a lot on the first bike, and kept fueling through the aid stations, which was key to avoiding cramping and having enough energy to finish.

Final words? BEST.DAY.RACING.EVER. Enough said!


First in AG 35-39, 3rd OA female, 14th OA

BOW 2014 F35-39

BOW 2014 F35-39

race report: swim to the moon 5k

How was it?

Fun. Freaky. Chill.  Not as bad as I thought it would be.  I was so nervous about this race I didn’t fall asleep until midnight the night before– and had to be up at 5:15 AM to drive out to packet pick-up and the start.

This race was absolutely so different than triathlons I cannot tell you.  Let’s be honest, there’s a tiny “gear geek” (there’s another word for it that isn’t as nice, but you get the picture) factor with some triathletes that just annoys the ever-loving crap out of me.  When my husband started racing ultras, it was a lot of guys in baggy shorts who put on a pair of shoes and ran.  Obviously, it’s slightly different for the pros and whatnot, but it is still mostly like that in ultrarunning.  Now, there weren’t any “pros” (HAHA! Could you imagine open water swimming pros? Somebody give Michael Phelps a call!) at this event, but people kept it casual -swimsuit, goggles, cap.  No dynamic warmups, no speed suits, etc.  I could get used to racing at this pace…but I digress.

The main point of this race for me, other than because you should if you can and you should always support races that support kids with cancer, was to continue to dispel open water swimming fears and prepare for some longer distance swimming (Alcatraz anyone?).  But it was much more educational than that because:

  1. I had no idea where I was going, other than the description on the website reading, “The 5k will swim south and east through the heavily forested Pinckney Recreation Area, passing through five lakes along the way. Scattered cottages are the only signs of civilization.”  As if the cardinal directions were gonna help this poor gal.  Seriously, if I don’t have Google Maps, I can’t find my house.
  2. I had no idea how long it would take me. Maybe an hour?  Maybe two?  That’s a lot of swimming under/over.
  3. I had no idea what the swimming would be like.  Lake monsters?

So…all those things probably conspired against sleeping on Saturday night, although I did spend a lot of time thinking about paint colors for the new house and not about all those legitimate fears.

For the 5k, they bussed us to the old U of M “Fresh Air” camp site, the future home of NorthStar Reach, which will be part of the Newman’s camps for kids with life-threatening illnesses.  At the former children’s camp site, the swim was a mass start, which was predictably annoying, but people spread out within a few hundred meters.  The first lake actually had homes on it, and going into the first channel, there was a bridge made of a huge steel tunnel.  Swimming through that was kind of freaky but not as freaky as blooms of seaweed that would pop right into your line of sight unpredictably in the channel.  That crap freaks me out (perceived lake monsters/regular fish), but I realized by about the fourth time that happened that it just meant it was so shallow I could stand up.  Which I did once at what I was told was the halfway point, but the girl who told me that said that only what she had heard.  Which was another freaky part because I had no idea when to turn on the speed, since I had no idea how far I had gone or how much farther I had to go.  It was kind of laughable, but I tried not to laugh because I didn’t want to swallow too much lake water.

Finally, we got to a point where I saw bright yellow buoys instead of orange buoys and I assumed that meant we were close to the end.  I was dragging a little, but my main concern was how tight my calves were getting.  I didn’t want to end up with a charley horse cramp in my leg, for if you have never had one in the water, you have no idea how painful it is not to be able to put weight against it and stretch it out.  I was in a particularly deep part of the lake, so I wouldn’t have been able to stand up.  Once I reached the first yellow buoy, I decided to just go for it and swim as fast as I could to get it over with and get to shallower water in case I did cramp up.  I didn’t drink any water or take in any food during this race, as I can’t imagine eating or drinking while I am swimming.  Perhaps that would have been a good idea.

Anyhow, I was pleased with the result.  The weather was perfect, the lakes were calm, and I finished in 1:23.27.  Not too shabby, I thought, and good enough for first in my age group.  Most importantly, I faced my fears head on again, and was reminded that those fears are really, really, really tiny compared to having cancer or having a kid with cancer.  If you have the opportunity or ability, please consider donating to Northstar Reach camp.  It’s the only camp of its kind in Michigan, and one of only 2 in the whole Midwestern US.  They still have a long way to go to restore the camp, but it will have a really beautiful location.

northstar reach

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.

moving, michigan, and more

…so much more.  Seriously, as I wrote up that race report in my last post, I knew change was on the horizon.  We drove home from GJ and I imagined that it might be my last drive through the mesas as we headed home.  Since then, the past 3 weeks have been a blur.

Tomorrow, Mr. Prepared leaves to take on his new job as the GM of Mt. Brighton, a little ski mountain outside metro Detroit (yes, Detroit) in Michigan.  He is going to commute back and forth for a while this summer, and I will stay here in Colorado to sell the house, pack up our things (or supervise the packing of said things- YAY!), and be with the kids.  It’s all been a bit of a whirlwind.  People’s reactions have really run the gamut, from those who give the perfunctory “congratulations” to the people who look at you like you must be mad.  Those people are my favorite, because you can see the fear that motivates them to act that way.  Fear of change.  Fear of new experiences.  Fear of humidity, Midwesterners, or whatever they are thinking of when they screw up their faces in a ball and say, “Why would you leave?” or the sometimes more polite, “Are you ready for this?”  To which my answer would be a resounding “Hell YEAH!”

Yes, I am sad to leave our friends and everything we know here.  No, I don’t really want to leave the mountains of Colorado.  Yes, I love the school the girls attend.  Yes, I like teaching at CMC. But do I crave new experiences and new opportunities? Yes.  Would I try just about anything? Of course. I mean, hell, I did a barre exercise class last week, people.  I took off my shoes (and my feet were stinky!) and did first position, second position, some stuff I don’t even know.  Maybe that was not on the scale of pulling up roots and moving clear across the country to a metropolitan area, but still.  Ballet and I have not exactly had an intimate history heretofore.

Change is good and healthy for everyone.  And how lucky are we to have this beautiful, miraculous opportunity to do something amazing and new?  I can only hope that everyone has the opportunity to embrace changes in their own lives in the way that our family will here in the near future.  Don’t run from change- run toward it!



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