Category Archives: Weight Loss and Fitness Journey
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!
I recently attended a conference with the Nevada Justice Association in San Francisco. One of the events you could choose to participate in was a 5k. I signed up and one of my big motivators was was that any 5k in San Francisco would have to have some big dang hills. That would be a good progress test for me leading up to the Everest Base Camp Trek in March. The race was pretty informal and we got a turn by turn hand out to keep us on the trail. So off everyone went….except me. I was apparently the only walker. But that was ok. It was a good morning and the fog was with us making it a very different 5k than I usually do.
I felt good and quickly set up my GPS to track the route. I always like to do that. As I was moving along from Union Square to the Embarcadero, I enjoyed the sights
and sounds of a city waking up. Traffic was light and there was no wind. So I snapped some pics as I went along and really was enjoying the air, moving quickly, feeling strong. So, there couldn’t be a better day. Soon I was up on the water in front of the Ferry building and looking out into the fog that socked in the Bay Bridge. On up the road I trudged, iPod accompanying each of my steps. I knew that a turn was coming up so I was paying attention to the street signs. I didn’t want to be late for breakfast, after all. But after passing the cable car turn around on Powell, I thought for sure that something had gone awry. Rather than
cut up from there, though, I just kept on my path. I began thinking about the fact that I had not yet had a single hill and was disappointed. That disappointment would not endure, however. A quick look at the GPS revealed that I, indeed, had gone astray and now I needed to map a rout back. Time was a wasting and not only was breakfast in peril, but being to the seminar on time was also iffy. By now I was on Bay Street, having turned left off the Embarcadero. My destination was not really that far. But to get there would take a trip up Hyde. To the top of Lombard Street. That is the squiggly be-flowered street so steep and famous on the post cards. That was wha an only be described as a “butt buster”. And the real weird thing about it is that I LOVED the challenge and the push. UP, UP, UP. STEEP, STEEP, STEEP! I went on past Lombard and was at the top of Nob Hill at the “Mark”. I remembered having sung there while attending Simpson College back in the
early 80’s. Itwas a warm feeling of deja vu…..until I saw that what goes up, must come down and now I had to go down the steepness of one of San Francisco’s most famous of its seven hills. No knee braces and time was a ticking! I took another look at the GPS and flew down that hill into the fog below, arriving back at the Marriott, Union Square with 10 minutes to spare. I grabbed an orange juice and headed to my room to clean up and rush back down for the Nevada Supreme Court Justice’s panel. In the end, my deviation from the route aded 1.4 miles on to the 5k, logging in 4.6 instead of 3.2 miles. It also gave me the hill I so wanted to have in this 5k. An added bonus was that the knees withstood it with little residual pain, and even that dissipated pretty quickly.
Today was the day to get your workout on for our Special Ops wounded and lost heroes at Fight Gone Bad 6. Here in Vegas, it took place in a quiet parking lot south of the Town Square Whole Foods. Well, quiet until you assemble a bunch of throwing, jumping, thrusting, rowing maniacs who lay all they have out for those who truly laid it all down for us. Once again, CrossFitters from all over were represented — CrossFit Max Effort, CrossFit 702, Sin City CrossFit, Force, CrossFit Las Vegas. I saw Summerlin, I saw California, I saw
Idaho. If I missed anyone, my bad because each and every individual who participated deserves a special mention of their very own. I took tons of pictures, the total of which can be seen on an album I made public on my facebook page. I hope that everyone who wants to get a gander of their workout is able to take a peek at the album. It was truly an amazing event! I read yesterday that there was nearly 2 million dollars raised so far and people can still donate. I would like to thank Maggie and Mac, two of my co-workers, for stepping up and donating to my page. Also, thanks to Renee, an old schoolmate who jumped on with some do re mi as well. Others can still take part by simply clicking here.
CrossFit is not just a great way to increase your fitness, health and ultimately your quality of life. Because so many are current or former military, law enforcement and fire there is a mentality of teamwork that transcends our civilian experience in team building. In our work places, it has been a trend for the last several decades to refer to groups of workers as teams. I say that is usually just a platitude because most of us truly do not know what it is to absolutely have to depend on another person for our very lives. But I guarantee you that anyone that has had to go into battle, into streets
where crime is the focus, or into a building aflame and falling down, has had to trust completely that their team members are there for them so they can go home and see their families when it is all over. This same dedication is brought into the CrossFit gym and as much of that team work and support as is possible is instilled in you as you train. I have yet to meet a CrossFitter who has not encouraged me as I try to get fit. That never happened at other gyms. I am not saying that only CrossFit is supportive of its members. What I am saying is that it is PART of CrossFit and as a result, the members tend to become a
community. When you see them gathering at an event, they compete against themselves to be the best and urge, cheer, push all the other competitors on as well. And when the reason you are together is to support families who have suffered as a result of their family member having fought for our country, it is clear that the CrossFit community is up to the challenge.
As the final heat was finishing, there was a sudden roar that stopped us all. I looked up and a fighter jet streaked across the sky low overhead. Then another, then another. It was moving to experience that symbolism of what had just happened and was happening all over the country to honor our heroes. Maybe next year you should find out where the Fight Gone Bad 7 is happening near you and plan to attend. I know I will.
There are so many things that go into a trip of a lifetime. One thing that has occurred time and time again, however, is the unsolicited same advice: ENJOY THE JOURNEY! It almost seems trite and meaningless. But it really is not. For me, having allowed my fitness and health to spiral downward until I was so sedentary that the motorized grocery store cart left me begging myself to give in to it, I really have had a journey that can be measured along the way. Lately, I have had situations presented to me that MAKE me see what the journey has been and is becoming. Here is the Latest:
I arrived home on a busy Saturday after being at the Honda dealer for three hours, followed by getting my father set for the week. (I do that every weekend.) I was looking forward to a friend’s 30th birthday party and two days of rock climbing camaraderie to round out my 2011 Labor Day weekend. (It started by a round of Golf on Friday). But as I pulled up to my house, I saw that someone (who shall remain nameless) had come over in my absence, unannounced, and filled my driveway with boxes. My reaction was “what the HECK?” As I looked over the boxes I was perplexed as to why this stuff, after two years away from where they came, would be landed here. It was almost all stuff that was shared back in that time. So, I got mad. Real mad. The mean kind. Then I tried to figure out what to do. It all wreaked of cigar smoke, so I was not about to take it inside. I looked for a haul away service. Nothing. I thought of hiring some people at the Nursery, but that creates other issues for me, not to mention that at three in the afternoon I am guessing nobody was hanging around waiting for work. Finally, I called a U-Haul company and reserved a truck for Sunday morning.
So here comes the part that actually redeems me a little for my initial mean thoughts and anger. But first a little table to show the reader from whence I came:
- 2002 – started law school. Worked and school with no exercise. Very over weight.
- 2006 – graduated law school at my heaviest weight ever; could not carry books to class; grocery shopping difficult. Short walk from car to store exhausting
- 2007 – Decided with a friend to do 5k’s. First one nearly killed me. Was sore for days. Took over and hour and forty-five minutes to finish.
- 2008 – now doing 5k every month and even added a 10k walk at Valley of Fire. Also added golf in as an activity. 18 holes very hard to complete even with a cart.
- 2009 – Met some Kayakers and started Kayaking. They invited me to the rock climbing gym. I went. First outdoor hike with them to climb was Cut Your Teeth at Red Rock. Again, nearly dead by return. HARD approach for the big girl.
- 2010 – decided I wanted to do the Everest Base Camp Trek for my 50th (2011). Family very opposed as too soon for me to physically be prepared. Suggested 2012 as a target. Still kayaking, golfing, hiking, bowling and going on climb hikes to take pics.
- 2011 – Started CrossFit at Max Effort to accelerate fitness and be ready for the 2012 trek.
So, now that the map is there it is Sunday morning, September 4, 2011. I have a truck, a driveway full of boxes, and as long as I was at it, a garage that could use some cleaning. I looked at it like a workout. Lifting, throwing, walking, bending. It was all there. I loaded the junk that was left here on the truck. then did a proper clean out of my own stuff in the garage. Off to the transfer station I went. The unloading was lots of tossing. Heavy stuff. I could feel my lower back getting fatigued and I had the epiphany. The one that inspired this entry into WhelanTrek. THIS is the journey. I don’t need to focus on why this stuff arrived on my driveway. What is REALLY important is that I could take care of it. Before the reformation of ME, as the chart reveals, I could not have thought of doing it. Instead, it was an annoying task that resulted in a good workout and proving to myself that all this hiking and CrossFit is making me far more able to live my everyday life. Sure, it is getting me ready for Everest Base Camp too. But along the way, my quality of life is far better. My future is bright for the last 1/3 of my life as well.
I was SO excited for yesterday’s paddle to Cottonwood Cove on Lake Mohave. Last year it was one of my best days playing outside. This year was great too. There were 24 people. New people, old people, kids. The weather was about 111 on the lake and the water was good and choppy outside the marina. Kate Sigworth organized it and Kim and Kate were there again. I met them all last year and they have become great friends. I was far more confident in my kayaking than I had been last year and really just enjoyed the day. We stopped at two or
three beaches to play in the water. That was refreshing and fun. I was glad to have my trusty build in ice chest on the kayak to store great snacks. I had insulated the lid with some of that spray foam used on pipes and think myself quite ingenious to say the least.
I did have one great big disappointment. I had just gotten my glacier goggles for the big trip and since they are also for glare on water in bright sun, I tried them out. They felt like a good fit but the lenses did NOT make my eyes feel good. As a matter of fact, my right eye felt down right sore. Luckily, I did have my trusty RayBan Wayfarers along as back up so was able to nip that in the bud.
All in all, it was a day of fun best told in pictures. So I will end this entry with a few for your enjoyment.