Category Archives: Weight Loss and Fitness Journey
Back in 2007 when Stacey and I started doing monthly 5k walks, our third one was put on by The Las Vegas Track club called the Turkey Trot. It stands out in my memory because I was lapped by a 84 year old woman. She was nice and encouraging and…well let’s face it, 38 years older than me. I was 46 at the time. Here it is, eight years later and it is turkey trot time again. Stacey lives back east and the 84 year old lady passed a way a few years back. I happened to see her at a few races and then read her obituary. I felt a bit sad, but also inspired that she had spent those 84 years living!
Now I do my 5ks with my great friend Maggie. With Stacey gone it was nice and fortunate to meet her and become good friends. Even better that we hike and walk and even do our adventures together.
This was my third post knee surgery 5k. My goal was to get in under one hour. At the start line we were informed that due to the public works failing to inform the track club of road closure on part of the route, the 5k would be a bit short. I was glad my MapMyFitness app would give me my distance, time and split times as well so I could see what progress, if any, I had made since the Pumpkin Man we did in Boulder City last month. I had done ok in that walk, though my knee was pretty thrashed afterwards.
In my Twilight 5K at Lake Las Vegas I was fresh off a three month hiatus due to knee injury. I had meniscus removed about a week prior to the race. I was still pretty sore and had to use a walking stick for stability. My time was pretty slow. I really hoped to shave a lot off those times month to month. So far, I have!!!!!! Here is a break down: NOVEMBER 5k time was 1:34:46; OCTOBER 5k time was 1:06:50; NOVEMBER 5k was 57:45!! I even had my last mile and partial mile at under 17 minutes, which tells me I have more gas in the tank to use earlier!
After I crossed the finish line I felt rejuvenated. I have not felt this good after a race in about 2 years. My weight is coming off, my diet is excellent and as a result, I am not taken down by a 5k any more. I have 4 months before my knee replacement surgery and I am ready to use it to get as much activity on this old knee as I can before it becomes medical waste. No pain in the now gel filled knee; no joint or back pain; no complete post race stiffness. I was overjoyed by the progress I have made in three months. My overall time is substantially improved as the knee has improved. The biggest real meter is teh time between October and November. I cut 12:05 from last month. That time improvement from November to October does not tell as much given the surgery was a week prior. o looking from October to November makes me see that there has been improved health with better eating and more exercise in between 5k events.
I completed my first month of concerted effort in weight loss and healthy eating with a 16 pound loss, a new gym membership, and a perfect paleo/primal eating habit. It felt very good and though I was happy with the 16 pounds, it came in the first 20 days with ten days of nothing more. So for November, month 2 prior to knee replacement surgery in the spring, I will not step on the scale. I will continue to log everything I eat on MyFitnessPal so that I cannot lie to myself about things. But no scale until December 1, 2015.
I am feeling pretty dang good. No sugar is always a better way for my brain to function and my energy to increase. I have the last two 5k’s of the year scheduled and am hoping to get on the bike as well.
The other night, I was ecstatic to eat…..wait for it…..PIZZA!!!!! I got a recipe for cauliflower pizza crust. It was FANTASTIC! I felt like I was CHEATING it was so good! It only took a few minutes to rice the cauliflower, heat it for ten minutes in the microwave, and add the eggs, cheese and spices. The bake on it was great and it held up structurally. I even heated it the next day for lunch and it still held up and tasted great. So, if you are going grain free like me, this is the bomb! I am also going to make the breadstick version the link above tells about so that I can snack during the football game this weekend. So now my two favorites that I miss on paleo/primal diets are covered: Pasta, where I use zucchini instead, and now pizza crust with the cauliflower. I have made cauli mash and cauli fried rice for a while, but this new crust will enable me to make “tortillas” for tacos and to use as bread for sandwiches as well.
So month two is producing all sorts of results even if I do not know about the number on the scale. I am getting comfortable with the food lexicon I have and not missing the things I thought I would. I get plenty of fiber and lots of good fat as well.
It was monthly 5k time again and we went out to do the Pumpkinman 5k. This is a race by BBSC Endurance. These are fun races for a variety of reasons, You get to choose the charity your money goes to, and there are multiple combinations of events you can do: Tri, Duoatholon, half marathon and more. We signed up for the 5k, and it was a good choice for me. Not ready for anything bigger at this time.
You may remember that in my last race blog, I told you about a very inspirational lady who was really working hard to do these events. She was back at this event and told me she took 40 minutes off her time that night! It is worth going back to read about her! She looked great on this 5k and didn’t even have a rest chair along with her. If that is not inspiring, I do not know what is!
So we started the race and it was pretty uneventful. I have gotten to know just how I will feel in each of the 3 miles on a course and that is a good thing for measuring progress.
The race was in Boulder City, Nevada. That is the town where all the workers who built the dam lived during it’s construction. It has no gambling in it as there was a fear the men would lose all their hard earned money if there were gambling. As we left Wilber Square in Boulder City, we were instantly in a quiet residential neighborhood right on the border of the desert. You would have no idea you were anywhere NEAR Las Vegas by this quiet little town. Old fashioned sprinklers quietly watered nicely manicured lawns surrounding cute bungalows.
As I reached the turn around I felt like I was doing pretty well. The next mile would be a steady uphill and I worked hard as I slowly pushed up the hill. Suddenly I felt a pat on the back and two men passed me running with a smile and a thumbs up. They were wearing Raw Fitness t-shirts! It is great to think how much young people support people who are in far less condition than are they and encourage us to fight on. I cannot even tell you how many “atta girls”, and “you’re almost theres” I got from people as they ran past me. I found that the encouragement prevented me even wanting to check the Map My Fitness app for my progress. I was moving and I was working and it felt good!
I did at last cross the finish line a midst cheers and a few laughs! I was going slow enough for the crowd along the finish strip to see my shirt, which read “EVERYTHING HURTS AND I’M DYING!
As we left the finish line and walked up to have a bench and a cold bottle of water, we met Bonnie Perrish-Kell of Slowpoke Divas. We talked about women “of our age” moving and playing and adventuring. Her site is wonderful! Take a look at it!
After the race, my bum knee was pretty beat up and I found myself hobbling more than I had expected. But then, I guess that is why I am getting a new new one in April. Hot shower followed by ice and Alleve. A routine I am very used to for sure.
I have a real long way to go. I have more work to do than I can even think about. But the good thing is that I only have to think about the small bits of work that build together to make the big chunks of work which culminate in the overall completed goal. And in the end, I have a healthier me with great memories getting there!
After returning from Peru, having not been physically able to do the hike I really wanted to do was demoralizing. I felt I had failed. As much fun as I had, and as wonderful Julio made all of my alternative sites and walks, the simple fact remained that I.Did.Not.Do.The.Inka.Trail. Period. The weight I carried was too much. And I don’t mean the pack.
As 2014 rolled into 2015 nothing much changed. I went through the usual holiday activities and started the new year dedicated to 12 5k walks in 12 months.
They were to be place markers to measure progress between each one. As I headed off to Washington DC for work, I squeezed my May 5k in by doing a selfie stick photo walk through Georgetown and the National Mall. It was great. The business trip I was on was jam packed with walking. I was logging about 17,000 steps a day and I thought “what a way to launch myself forward!”
On June 3 we were taking meetings all over Capitol Hill. We had the Capitol, a meeting with the U.S. Supreme Court Clerk, a meeting at the Senate with Kelli Ayote, and a meeting at the DOJ with Deputy Attorney General Sally Bates. As the day wore on my left knee began to have a feeling as though it were ripping. It worsened. It held me back the remainder of the trip.
June, July, and August there would be no 5ks. As a matter of fact, an MRI revealed a tear in the meniscus. August 27th the knee was scoped and cleaned up. A lot. Left behind was a janky ACL that had been repaired in 1988 and what looked like a shag carpet of arthritis with intermittent bone on bone.
Some friends and I had already started on planning a 2017 walk on el Camino de Santiago de Compostela. I had a Spanish class under way and the walking goal was to go from Leon to Santiago de Compastela. That is 200 miles. And instead of beginning my my goal of over 100lbs. Weight loss with a “good as sorta 54 year old new” knee, I am starting knowing that at sometime between now and September 2017, I will likely need to ink in a total knee replacement. Ugh.
As I lie on my couch with the pups feeling sorry for myself, I decided to watch Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago. I learned about it on the American Pilgrims on the Camino Facebook page. I “met” one of the co-producers there named Annie O’Neil. In watching the pilgrims struggle for their own individual reasons, I was particularly drawn to Annie’s walk. Maybe at first because I was at least familiar with her now. But seeing a normal sized person become nearly debilitated by sever knee conditions, yet for her to push through with no complaints was insuring and redemptive. I no longer felt ashamed of myself for Peru. Instead I felt my biggest failure was not in missing the trail……it was in missing the lesson.
I have a plan now. I always do, but I can only have hope and faith that this time, I can do it. That this time I can keep a promise to myself for all the right reasons.
Today was a fun day trying something I have not done before. Garage Gym 702 workout was at Lake Las Vegas where we did SUP or Stand-Up Paddle Boarding with SUPLV I have been wanting to do it for a long time. I have read a lot about them and know that because I am no small girl, I would need a big flat one to do my best. Especially having never done it. I saw they had on and tried to claim it. But when the instructor got to me they said no, you need a smaller one and put me on a nice sports car looking one where I thought I was more of a 7o’s era station wagon boarder. But they are the experts so I do what I am told.
It was a wobbly proposition and as I was attempting to stand it was very hard to keep the board stable. I wobbled and wobbled and paddled and flailed until finally I was sailing through the air and into the briny deep. Well, the lake at least. As I came up from the depths the same person who told me I needed the small board had a wonderful and original idea….how about trying the bigger flatter board!!!! Thangs that make ya go huh.
Well up I went and this time I could actually keep up and the board moved through the water with ease. I had some five-toes footwear on and my Go-pro in my packet. Luckily it did not fall out when I took the plunge! I paddled confidently round the harbor, choosing not to go out into the chop as I knew the prospects of remounting the board in deeper water were zilch. It was a great feeling of all sorts of micro movement of my stabilizing muscles. Really working those out. My calf muscles too! Despite tons of walking and working out, and though my quads and arms and core were not feeling overly worked out, my calf muscles began to bur as if someone was lighting them with a blow torch.
After a good hard workout around the lagoon, I paddled in to the beach and then took an= relaxing swim. It was a fun day and after we were all safe and sound on land, we headed to The Omelet House for a great time of breakfast and craic! (Craic is Irish for fun talk and banter). There were about 12 of us and it was really an enjoyable time.
As the day wore on and I was doing stuff around The Doll House, I began to feel more and more of my core and shoulders reminding me of my morning of fun. By bedtime I knew that the morning must have been a lot more fun than I first realized. I took a walk in the light of the Super Moon and stretched things out a bit before bedtime. It was a great day in the Vegas Valley. Low 100’s and less humid than the previouse monsoooooony week. I slept like a log and am ready to start my 75 squats for the day and see what else I can do to stay out of trouble.
Much of my adult life and some of my childhood has been spent with the battle of the bulge raging. Like any war, there are times when battles are heated and times when there is not a lot going on. Times when I am winning, and times when I am losing. It is a tug of war that I consider the thorn in my flesh that the Apostle Paul refers to. There are many reasons that even outside the obvious health concerns, being big sucks. One thing I have learned over the years is I am GOOD at being fat. I am not so good at being thin. This is evidenced by the fact that when I have achieved victory, it is short-lived whereas the plumper times of life endure. The world is not built for larger people. And in a society where people are getting even larger, we push and push the look of anorexia over health. Marilyn Monroe would probably be made fun of in the tabloids for her weight if she had been born 15 years later. People are getting bigger while airplane seats get smaller, theater seats get smaller, cloths are skimpier. On the other hand, in the midst of the battle to overcome obesity in America, go out to eat at any restaurant and the plates are overflowing with carb rich dishes that are big enough to feed a family of four in the 50’s. I remember going to McDonald’s with my parents when I was 4. It was such a treat because going out to eat was not something that happened on a regular basis. We each got a hamburger or cheeseburger, what is now a small fry and a small drink. Dad got a large drink, which was the 16 ouncer. Considered HUGE at the time. He got a McDouble. Now, just to put that in perspective, each of the patties on a McDonald’s Hamburger is 1.6 oz. prior to cooking. There are 10 patties to a pound of burger. So Dad was getting about three oz. of meat. We couldn’t finish ours and maybe dad finished them for us, I cannot remember. But he didn’t get two or three for himself. And the bread he got was the same as us as opposed to a giant bun filled with two 1/4 pound patties. People who battle weight live in a world that tells them how bad they are, yet throws cheap, unhealthy, tasty food at them all day, 24/7/365.
I have blogged before and talked about my sedentary years and massive weight gain and debilitating back pain. Rather than go through all of that again, suffice it to say that after enjoying high school and college years being extremely active in sports and marching band, I sat down and didn’t get up for about 16 years. I would always dream about the things I would do if I could only lose the weight. “When I lose my weight I am going to: Hike, bike again, play ball, kayak, travel, shop more, wear cool cloths and be happy.” That is all I had to do. Some day. Meanwhile I tried every fad diet there was with little to no long term success.
Then it hit me: I did not have to wait until I was “thin” ( whatever that really is) to do those things. After all, I am not dead yet! So I started moving again. Did some 5k walks and bought a Kayak. From 43 to 53 I have done all my hiking, climbing, trekking, kayaking adventures as a big girl. Some times bigger than others, but never at what would be considered anywhere NEAR a healthy weight. I can only imagine the last 10 years without having had that epiphany. Certainly it would have been imminently more difficult to start at 53. But even then, I think I would have. We don’t have to look a certain way or be able to do things at a high level in order to enjoy them, enjoy the health benefits and live our lives. I am slower than the lighter and/or younger folks, but I still finish. I have had people look at me when I say what adventure I am off to next and actually ask if I am doing anything to lose weight before I go. As if those skin flints know at all what it is like to be big and if big people even feel any different from them whilst active. Some just plain look at me in disbelief. You can see the “THIS PERSON IS A B.S.er” sign flash on their foreheads. By the way, did you know Shakespeare invented the word forehead?
Truth is I do try to be healthier these days. Micky D’s and I broke up and I am now an aficionado of the paleo style of eating. Good fats, meat and lots of veggies, nuts and seeds. My beloved bread is gone now and even though I still do struggle with weight, I am healthy. I know this because my doctor monitors my health and she is a great doctor.
Me and Maggie leave for Machu Picchu August 30, 2014. I have not got near as much weight off as I would like, but I am working hard every day eating right and walking at work break, hiking at night. I am not waiting to wake up one day and find that I am suddenly thin. I may never be thin. But each day that passes is one I could have lived more. If I do not make the choice to have fun now, it will pass like a blink of an eye and I will be left with regrets. Don’t sell yourself short. Live now, rest later. :)
(Maggie and I have set a hike of Black Mountain as our monthly evaluation hike in working up to Machu Picchu. The goal is to be able to see our fitness increases gained over the course of the month and to assess what we need to do to ensure our readiness for our September trek on the Inca Trail.)
March 24, 2014. 5:30 AM. As I sit in my car, lacing my boots in the dark, it is not lost on me that just 24 months ago I was boarding a plane to Nepal to start what was the best few weeks of adventure I had ever had. It was also not lost on me that only 12 months ago, I was beginning what was to be the worst few weeks of my adult life in watching my father’s slow death and in taking him home to be buried. And here I stood, at the parking lot of Black Mountain, getting ready to challenge myself in preparation for the next adventure.
I put on my headlamp
and headed out. It had been two years since I had done this hike, and I knew there had been quite a bit of trail development in the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area. My lamp lit the trail well and for the first time ever, I also hiked with my iPod playing in my ear. As I walked past houses where people still remained warm in their bunks, I thought about how nice it was to still be able to just drive up to the end of the burbs and start hoofing it. Soon I was at the little water retention dam and knew that once I had put it behind me, it would not be long until I would be on trail and officially out of the suburban beginnings of the hike.
I trudged on thinking about how my feet were feeling, assessing if I had laced my boots well, if they were feeling good, if the iPod would last the whole hike and wondering if the coyotes were watching me in the dark. Every now and then the monotone voice of my MapMyFitness app would tell me how far I had gone. I had not yet left what was a service road and started to doubt if I had gotten on the right trail. The sun was starting to make an appearance and as I looked back down the mountain I could see I had gotten myself on the next hill over by crossing the front of the dam instead of the back. So around I turned and headed back to the dam.
I texted Maggie, who intended to begin after me and she confirmed my mistake just about the time I arrived back down the to the dam. Now I could read the signs and there it was. I needed the 404 trail and that is on the back of the dam! I had eaten up so much of my lead time that I was mad with myself. I am less fit than Maggie and did not want to slow her down on her test hike. But it was what it was so I went around the dam and found the trailhead. I put my lamp away and started in, now with over 2.5 miles extra logged.
I hiked up and up and felt pretty good. Slow but good. There was nobody around on what is usually a freeway. A benefit of coming quite early on a Sunday morning. I could feel the walk in my legs and I took note of a few issues with my boots and feet. This being the first real hike of the year, my feet are not yet conditioned and I knew they may be sore. I was trying a lighter weight boot too, and that may have been a mistake as the bottoms of my feet were getting more feedback from the trail than I like.
Around six miles in I had to start assessing whether to go to the top or not. I had burned a couple miles that I sure could have used energy-wise on my mistaken start.
I sat down and ate a few nuts and seeds and drank a considerable amount of water. All of a sudden Maggie was there and we talked about how things had gone to this point. Given the fact she had not added a two plus mile spur, she was going to continue up. I decided I needed to head back because my feet were pretty sore and the left boot was throwing into pronation pretty aggressively. I had a small blister on my middle toe and could feel a hot spot on my big toe from the posture of my foot in pronation. So she went up, and I headed down.
It was a long hike and I was a bit worried that it was going to really set me back. I hadn’t really planned on more than 6 miles and this was 9.5 by the time I was done.
In the end, I was tired and sore but had gotten great information about what gear and fitness things I need to work on over April. Cannot WAIT until we tackle this at the end of April and see how I do then!
I have been devising a fitness routine to get ready this 8 months coming up to the Machu Picchu trip. Because I cannot always make the time to go out to the bigger area of mountains near Las Vegas, I go to a park just three miles down the road in my neighborhood. It has a little “mountain” in it and there are trails all over. The nice thing is a little section that is steep that goes from, a shelter to the top. Not long, but the key is that is is relatively steep. I scheduled my Friday Mornings to go there and to do the steep section ten times.As time goes on I will add my weight vest and I will increase the weight IN the vest.
This Friday Maggie, who is going to Machu Picchu with me, and I set out to do our first 10 lap assault of the hill. I stopped and ate a big hardy omelet first and met up with her at the park. We headed out and told ourselves that we were going to embrace the toughness when things seemed hard. I noticed that there were lots of people out on the hill. With all the circuitous trails on and around the thing, it looked like a little ant nest. One person was wearing a bright orange shirt so she was easy to spot. First on the north side, then down below, then coming over the top as I ascended past her. About my fourth time up, she stopped me as asked if I had done the mountain before. I told her not as a training exercise. She said “Become friends with this mountain. I did and I lost 120 pounds and have kept it off for five years!” and off she went.
Later, we crossed paths again and she stopped and asked how many times I was going up and I told her 10. We chatted and she has MS…”the good kind” she said with a chuckle. She is being the best she can to suffer the least she can and now does 7 miles a day.
So off I went, inspired by her and what she has done. We parted with the knowledge that we would see each other again. Every Friday.
There were others too. They would see me and encourage me the way many did on the trail to Everest. We finally hit our 10th lap. It was great! Not the two laps I had scheduled before Maggie said she wanted to join me. So now, instead of adding a lap a week and getting to the ten lap goal in 9 more weeks…I am there now.
After we finished, we jumped into our cars and headed to TruFusion for a 70 minute TruFire yoga session!
Today was slated for a hike with my brother to Black Mountain in Henderson Nevada. It is part of the . It sits right at the edge of the surge of housing that spread like a flood of red tile roofs through the 90’s and 00’s. It is the tallest mountain on that end of town in that range.
According to Trails.com, it is a 6 hour hike and gains 2k feet in elevation over 3 miles. Joe was adamant that the information was wrong and that we should not be near that long out there so off we went.
I was excited but apprehensive as well. It is only 5 weeks until I leave to Everest and this hike was fairly representative of a day on the trek. At least as representative as you can get 13,000 feet lower than the trek will be. A typical day on the trek going up will be 3 miles and 6 hours for that small distance.
When I hike…or do anything challenging, I find myself in arguments with myself. If things are getting too hard I fight the voice in my head telling me I am not going to make it. To give up. To be happy with what I have already done. This hike was no exception. I had been hiking for some distance and drinking along the way. But suddenly I began getting cramps in my calf. I ate some Shot Bloks and went along. Once I hit the portion of the hike that really takes a steep climb, I started getting them in the other calf. I had to find some good rocks to press my foot up against to force stretching them out for about 15 minutes and then summit as fast as I could. Once on top, I drank another bottle of water and ate some more Shot Bloks for the trip down. I never had the attacks on the way down so I must have done something right.
As you walk up this trail, you see Las Vegas on your left. Though this particular day, there was a big haze over the valley, you could see the Famous Las Vegas Strip pretty easily.
Because of our late start, the sun was going down just as I was down the first and most difficult section. I pulled my head lamp out of my pack and continued along the path. I had not hiked at night with a light before. The weather was nice. Just had my Eddie Bauer Hang Fire Hoodie and a t-shirt and was very comfortable. Again the doubts about my abilities…too old, spent too many years doing nothing to truly get back to a good fitness level. But as I pushed those thoughts out, I gained a new appreciation for just being there and doing it. How there is no way I could have even 2 years ago. Moreover, that 6 years ago, I was unable to even carry my books from my car to the classroom in Law School. It isn’t over til its over and I just cannot let it be over yet.
A while back I went on a hike to Turtle Head. I went most the way but really just did not like that hike and the slough under my feet made me believe I was risking injury to claim the top. I had gotten a good workout, so turned back. Ever since that hike, Turtle Head mocks me. It looks at me from every corner of the valley. While up at Black Mountain, It mocked me from across the valley. So I asked a friend of mine what I could do to enhance a picture of it that was obscured by the haze and he gave me this back……stunning. It mocks me and after I get back from Everest, I will go back and put it to rest!
I enjoy challenges. I often wonder if the challenge is what I enjoy over the activity. Especially when the activity becomes difficult. But in the end, I realize one is part of the other. I love the activity because it gets difficult and because I can have a sense of accomplishment at the end.
Here are some more sights of the day!
The home stretch to the trek is here. Two months from today I will board a plane and leave for what has been a two year plan. I find myself exhilarated and anxious at the same time. Since I made the decision to do this trek, so much has happened. I am so glad I told myself early on to enjoy the journey. Along the way I have made great friends at Crossfit Max Effort. I have made great friends at the climbing gym and kayaking. I have enjoyed hiking and going to climbing walls in Red Rock and at Mt Charleston. I have learned and gained more friends at www.trailspace.com. As a matter of fact, one of the great mountaineers there made it possible for me to get a free pair of yak trax to try out on the trek!
During this time my father’s health has been declining. We have been in the hospital with him twice in the last month. This raises obvious worries with regard to what may happen while I am gone. The rules have been placed: I will not receive any information regarding my father while on this trek. The family believes that there is nothing I could do if something happened but worry, so finish my trek and come home, hopefully to regale my father with adventurous stories of the Himalayas.
I have added biking into my fitness activities. It is something I used to do regularly all through college. I got a new road bike at Christmas and hope to continue to gain back my health and fitness and do some organized rides.
Another benefit of this two year preparation is that I am not done when the trek is over. In July or August I plan to climb Mount Shasta:
Then Mount Baker:
So, as you can see, this has changed my life. This is going to be what I do with the time I have here on this orb and I cannot tell you how much more enriching it is to be out there amongst the greatest creation in history, THE PLANET!