Monthly Archives: August 2011

Fight Gone Bad 6 Needs Your Help!

Make Your Donation Today!

On August 6th, 30 American special forces lost their lives in Afghanistan. Their helicopter was ambushed while reinforcing an engaged group of Army Rangers.  As reported, “the 30 American deaths represent the greatest loss of U.S. military lives in a single incident in the decade-long war in Afghanistan that began in 2001.”

Each year thousands of CrossFitters around the world endure one of our most grueling workouts, Fight Gone Bad, in order to raise money for charities that benefit armed services and first responders.  On September 17, I’ll be participating in Fight Gone Bad 6. I won’t be doing the workout myself, but will be there supporting CrossFit Max Effort team members and recording the event on camera.  Please don’t let my not doing the work out stop you from donating to this very worthy cause. The charity it benefits is the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides assistance to the families of killed and wounded special ops forces, including (but not limited to) Navy SEALS, Army Rangers, Green Berets, and Marine Corps special ops. These are the survivors of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for all of us back home. Though what we do may be little in comparison to what they gave, it is worthy to try to honor their work and memory by supporting those they left behind, and for those who survived their injuries, helps the family back home. It is tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

Please click the link to donate any amount you can  here.

Everyone Loves a Cool Shirt

The most sought after shirt evah!

I am having some shirts made to commemorate the big trek. If you are interested in purchasing a shirt  just for the fun of it, I will add that to my order. The shirts are Hanes Beefy T’s and all you need to pay is the cost of the shirt plus tax. That comes out to about $12.25.  I will need to know what size you would like to have and we can arrange money changing hands. The graphics are pretty dang good and for that reason alone any serious t-shirt afficianado would need to add it to their collection. Great for climbing, hiking,  kayaking, polishing cars and drying off the dog.  You can wear it to work on casual Friday and give them as gifts to well deserving friends. President Bush and President Obama are in a bidding war over the first one off the press. Don’t be left out.  Once I have a good idea how many are needed the order will go in. I want to have it  by early October so I can have them before the holidays…OH yet another way to complete your holiday shopping! Now. Thre is also a graphic on the FRONT of the shirt making it ever so much cooler. (huh?) But I am still trying to figure out why it is not letting me post it in here. Maybe it is JUST THAT COOOOOL! Email me or leave a comment here and we will get the ball rolling!

Cottonwood Cove Kayakmania

Kayak Heaven

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

Sean takes a dive!

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.

Ace Locked and Loaded for the trip home.


Safe Seas

The mean, glacier goggles


I Can’t Help Myself

Some things just deserve more coverage and this is one of them. One of the members of CrossFit Max Effort spent the same day I did taking picture at the fundraiser for Falynn Gabriella. But he was shooting lots of cool video and put together something very nice, truly showing what Max Effort hosted last Sunday. Take a couple minutes and see for yourself:

I really cannot say any more than what this video does so, if you feel moved to help, please do!

Muscle Bound Hearts

Falynn Gabriella with her parents

People who have read posts in this blog before know that I train at CrossFit Max Effort. Today I was there, not to train, but to attend a fundraiser for one of the members whose daughter has a rare condition known as Spinal Muscular Atrophy. The turn out was nothing short of amazing! over 150 people were there to participate, observe, donate and commune. Gyms from all over town were there: CrossFit Las Vegas, Sin City CrossFit, CrossFit 702, Camp Fit Force, were shirts I saw as well as CrossFit Bishop. If I missed any I am sorry because all these training communities came and gave the obstacle course a true work out! Fox 5 news was there, several people snapping off photos, and a whole bunch of people making a difference for the search to cure SMA.

CrossFit is really a wonderful concept. In addition to the incredible workout and

Community is in the forefront at CrossFit Max Effort

conditioning, it is clear that the community built in the gym is important as well. People actually get to know each other and take time to care about more than how much weight they picked up. They encourage far more than fitness.  At Max Effort I have been welcomed and respected by the other members. That has not been the case in the many conventional gyms I have been to over the years. They were OK to work out at but there was no core of people working together to support the goal of true conditioning, fitness and well-being.

Leaping up with the med ball....still more after this!

So what actually happened today? Well. There was an obstacle course that sent each participant through their paces. There was some running, and some squats and push ups and sit ups, and then inside the gym where each individual had to work their way down the wall ball zone, then go over the bars, then over and under with a med ball in hand, then three level box jumps, rings, burpees, rope climbs (2) and a romp through the tires.

There were men……….


There were women………..

Climb On!

There were kids……..


It was truly a fun and amazing day. But the real purpose was to raise money for Falynn and with over $12,000.00 raised for her and research into curing this awful thing, the day was truly a big success. I am happy to have been able to attend.

Falynn Gabriella

Gallery Wall…and Then it Rained.

The rain threatened, but gave us hope with this little rainbow!

Today’s trip to Gallery Wall in Red Rock was absolutely delightful! The hike to the wall was short but lots and lots of scrambling. It gave me a chance to see if I am feeling stronger, more agile, more confident and more fit. I am happy to report a resounding YES to all of those categories!

I found that the burpees I was forced to do last week at CrossFit Max Effort gave me some arms to use when lowering myself onto boulders or when getting up on a boulder above. I am sure the rowing also assisted in overall conditioning.

It was such a nice morning. I love getting up early and heading out to Red Rock. I am

Four of a Kind!

always the happiest with my choice of living areas on days I jump on to Blue Diamond and take the road to the turnouts. It was quiet with only the bicycles beating us to the day. For them, it gets hot even earlier. We simply try to get as much shade on the wall as possible before the sun comes over to chase us away.  During the climbing, I take a chance to test out my camera skills and record the others as they lead, repel, limb and generally have a great time. Today would not disappoint as we headed up to Gallery Wall. They guys

The Way Up.

headed out and I, as usual, trailed behind. I got to the rocks to scramble and the fun began. Lots of pulling, pushing, leveraging my way up to where thee guys had headed. Finally I got there and felt a real sense of satisfaction that I worked hard and kept going and had FUN!

The rain was lingering over on the hills, leaving us alone, but it looked inevitable that it would come our way. The guys were finishing up what had been a great couple hours of climbing and I thought I should go on down and get a head start since I am slower, So off I went. Going down is tricky as I am not

Goofin on the Rock

always confident in my balance. Especially with my pack on. And today, the pack was awkward with my camera rolling around inside. But I felt more in control of my feet than I had in the past. And my arms were of great help, whereas in the past they have simply been more to carry with me. I was tracking the trip on EveryTrail and was happy to see that the half mile had round 300 feet of elevation gain from the lowest point. I had to keep in mind that in order to get to where that gain could be attained, we had to hike down, then up. That means even steeper ups were presented.  My knees took a bashing but that is par for every hike. After I got back to the parking lot, I jumped in my car and headed out. The drive back was nice and I felt good. I stopped in Blue Diamond to grab a tea and visit the locals,….the burros that is! Can’t wait for the next time to play outside!

The Blue Diamond Wild Burros...who come right up and hang with you. So much for the wild side!

T-Shirt and Tattoo….(along the way to trekking).

I decided to design myself a T-Shirt to celebrate the path to Nepal and the trek itself. Well. That is not entirely accurate. I have an IDEA for a t-shirt that my friend Sonya Vasilieff (proprietor of Pink Bird Studio) is actually designing from my very limited artistic abilities. Therefore, I am sure it is going to rock.  I am going to use the front as a tattoo that will offically embed the trip to me externally as well. AND  the design will become the avatar of WhelanTrek.  

The front (and ultimatly the tattoo) will be an image of the mountain itself encircled by a border of celtic knots. The back will list all of the locations I will hit along the way and their elevations overlaying a map of Nepal. I am learning a bit about how to get parts together for use in the design. Vector graphics. Never heard of it before this. See how much fun this adventure is? Anyway. Sonya worked up a graphic of Mount Everest that will adorn the front of the shirt. Around it will be a very nice Celtic knot circle.

In the process of doing what has been done so far, Sonya attached a quote from Tom Whittaker. Whittaker was the first one legged man to climb mount everest. He overcame much to do such a task. But the quote is apt for anyone who seeks to reach a goal: “Everest for me, and I believe for the world, is a physical and symbolic manifestation of overcoming odds to achieve a dream.” — Tom Whittaker.

I used Everest symbolically to achieve my dream of becoming an attorney. I actually used the Seven Summits, but Everest was the top of them all, the last one after conquering each of the six achievements along the way that I needed to get to that ultimate goal. Now I am going to Base Camp to physically achieve my own Everest goal. No. It is not to the top of the mountain, but rather to the bottom of the mountain. I never yearned to climb it, only to see it, touch it and be there. That is MY Everest and I need to overcome the odds of age, decades of sedentary living, and weight to achieve it. I have seen the reaction in people’s faces when I tell them what I am doing. Many faces are skeptical and more are down right dismissive. As if, in my age and condition, it is a pipe dream. I have my own demons of doubt to battle. I am learning how to push harder when I think I have reached my physical limit. Because the truth is, we each have far more in us than we are willing to believe.

This is what a wall ball workout looks like

This is what a wall ball work out looks like.

Yesterday I was doing a wall ball workout at CrossFit Max Effort. I was required to throw a 10 pound medicine ball above the low target 150 times. I was given 15 minutes in which to do it. This was after what was a nice, big, warm up that included a 500 meter row. After a fast start, I was bogging down. Pretty soon I was resting between 2 to 3 throws. I kept having the same conversation with myself. “Stopping is not going to get you to base camp.” and “The trek will be at LEAST this hard with no O2 and steep terrain.” I had to remind myself “You are not crawling on your hands and knees on the floor so you must have more in you.”  I found that there is more there to access. I got 146 throws and know that the reason I did not get 150 total was because of my mind and not my body.  As I train my body, I will train my mind to overcome the odds to achieve my dream! overcome the odds to achieve my dream

For Falynn Gabriella

While at CrossFit Max Effort yesterday, one of the young men in my class was really just laying it all out. Doing 400 meter and 800 meter sprints at 80% he really pushed himself. Then when he finished the last 400 meter sprint at all out, he had nothing left at the end. It was brutal, what he put himself through to work that hard, in the Vegas heat of 110 plus. But he did it and now we were stretching. I noticed that his water bottle was empty and offered him my extra bottle of water. Which he needed badly. As he took it we chatted a minute. His daughter suffers from a rare condition known as Type 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy. As bad as Gonzalo looked at the end of the difficult workout, it is nothing compared to what his daughter faces in her young life. I am proud that CrossFit Max Effort is holding a fund-raiser for her this sunday and encourage anyone who is of a mind to do so, to attend and to help out.

ABORT! ABORT! (A not so good hike.)

Trail Head

I was looking forward to today’s hike all week. This being the first week of the 2 month drive to Dad’s 80’th, I was stoked. I had loaded my pack the night before and got my duds ready and hit the hay to get rested up for what would be a nice Trail Canyon hike to the Rain Tree.  I would be trying out my new camera halter too since the last long hike took its toll on my neck carrying a camera on a traditional strap. It was also to be the first real hike on the new boots.  We got to the trail head and Joe said he was off so that he could get his time and would meet me at the log. I was good with that. I am a slow hiker and he needs to enjoy the hike for his purposes as well.

It was such a nice day. The sun was hot but the breeze was cool. The trail was steep but steady. My pack held lots of water, trail food, emergency/first aid kit, trekking poles, rain coat, multi-tool and sundry other small items. I had laced the new boots up well and taken precautions about blisters. So off I went. I had joked with Joe because he told me all week this was an easy hike, but the board at the trail head listed it as STRENUOUS. I delighted in calling him out for lying again. But now he was gone and I was huffing, puffing and photo-ing my way up the trail.

Entering the WILDERNESS! Look Out!

Then it happened. Straight outta the blue. No warning. I was dizzy and nauseated.  I kept going a few more steps feeling fine….except for that. I stopped and hydrated. Still no change. Ate a cliff bar. Still no change. I rested a while longer and set out again. After all, I could have bad days on the trek and will have to push through then too.  Soon, however, I had to stop again. This time I found a great place in the shade and settled in to wait it out. But the problem was no longer dizzy it was intestinal. I made an effort to go further but in a little less than two miles up the trail, I had to go down and find an appropriate rest room. I was SOOO disappointed.  AND I could not let Joe know because we had no way to communicate. Almost like we had been thrown back into the 70′! Luckily, a group of guys came up the trail and I was able to ask them to let Joe know I was descending the trail and for him to continue.


I got down and took care of things and then sat on a rock and just enjoyed being outside while I waited for Joe to return. There were great sounds all around. I had been hearing the voices of rock climbers on a climbing wall as I descended and it was calming. The birds were out, the wind in the trees made a sound like water. It was great.

After my disappointment I reassessed the day.

  • I had no blisters and loved the way my feet were feeling the whole time.
  • I had not felt unable to hike, just had some “bug”
  • Still got in over three miles and was gaining altitude all along the way up.

Perhaps the big change in diet contributed to what happened today. I do not know. But all of these hikes are to serve a purpose and this one served many.

Only the Shadow Knows

Hitting the Wall, or the Floor, at CrossFit Max Effort

The Workout is Under Way

 I was at CrossFit Max Effort yesterday as part of my amped up efforts to prepare for my Trek as well as simply to get in shape for the health of it.  Because I have not been consistent, it was a tough one. But they always are. I love the feeling of working at maximum output.

 It was nice to see owner Zach Forrest after his weekend at the 2011 CrossFit Games where he came in at 12th in the world! That is quite an endorsement for the gym! 

The first sign that this was going to be brutal was the buckets of sweat rolling off my face…..during the warm up. Lauren does a good job of getting the muscle groups ready for the impending onslaught of horror. She also gets the joints ready to contort and bend in ways never intended by the gods of sedentary behavior.   

When the workout began in earnest, I was apprehensive. Healing up from the blister hike had taken me out for a few weeks and the rounds of scaled Muscle Ups, Sit Ups with 10 pounds on my chest, dead lifts and rows were bound to hit back hard. And they did not disappoint. Lauren scaled me to three rounds. I got the fun I AM GOING TO BLOW CHIPS feeling and the great ROOM IS SPINNING that comes with not being there working out consistently. But in the end, it was great to be back and to know that my schedule will allow me two days a week for the next two months. After that I ramp up to three.   

I am the old woman in the room. I love seeing the young people working out so hard to stay in shape and enjoying the toughness of it. I will take a CrossFit Max Effort banner with me to Everest Base Camp to celebrate what they are doing to help me get there.


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