Category Archives: Weight Loss and Fitness Journey

Black Mountain Summit!


Today was slated for a hike with my brother to Black Mountain in Henderson Nevada. It is part of the McCullough Range. 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.

Black Mountain looms above the houses in Henderson, Nevada

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.

Las Vegas Strip on a hazy day.

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.

Enhancement by David Cummings! Thanks David!

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.

A look down at Vegas as the lights are coming on....lots of hiking left!

Here are some more sights of the day!

SUMMIT!

TOP O' HENDERSON, MA!

Look Out Night Hike

TWO MONTH COUNT DOWN!


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:

Then Machu Piccuu:

And maybe after that, Kilimanjaro:

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!

5k San Francisco Style


Night before teh 5k....chillaxen on the street.....safe street!

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

Artwork on the Mission

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

Powell Street Cable Car Turn Around

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

Legendary Mark Hopkins on Nob Hiil, San Francisco

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.

Lookin a little puffy! Must be all the moisture re-hydrating my pores!

Fight Gone Bad 6 – VEGAS STYLE!


Bomb Suit-- Imagine That!

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

Honoring Our Heroes

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

2011 Fight Gone Bad 6 Participants and Friends

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

Suffering for the Ones Who Suffered

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.

Fighter Jet Streaks Through the Vegas Morning

“Enjoy the Journey” …is What They Tell Me.


Get Fit. The Alternative sucks.

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.

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

 

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.

CREATION ALL AROUND!

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.

 

Bumps in the Road


Cable Car in San Francisco - double-ended car ...

Image via Wikipedia

T minus 8 mo. 3 days to lift off to Everest Trek. Seems like quite a ways off, but truth is, it is right around the corner. Between now and then, I need to:

  • Complete my gear aquisition
  • Get all shots and meds
  • Save money to spend
  • Increase aerobic sterength
  • Increase leg strength
  • Lose big chunk of weight

That is what comes to the top of my head at any rate. And time passes quite quickley when you need it to slow down. That is a proven fact. I have great plans of consistant CrossFit and hiking. But I need to make those plans a reality and not just good intentions or I will find myself at 10,000 feet ready to go and developing a splitting headache, unable to ascend and my dream gone lickity split.

Saturday I go to San Francisco for Scrableganzapalousa. I am pretty dang sure I will not be getting any more fit than I am right now at that event. Likely not going to eat well either. So, here is the plan. I cannot afford to have too many more bumps in the road. Especially bumps I can avoid. August starts when I get back. Next big family event is October when Dad turns 80. That gives me 2 months to string together some consitant, hard effort. So I am publishing that here to let ya’ll know, the heat is ON, baby!

 

 

On Backs and Stuff


LIFE IS GOOOOOOOD!

This week has been very hard on my back. For some reason last Saturday it just started hurting on the left lower portion. I took my usual Alleve and rested it. A few days later it felt a little better but the concentrated pain area had shifted to the right. I have stretched and tried to help it work its way out to no real success.

Back in 2004, my weight was about 70 pounds more than it is today. I was sedentary…working at a desk all day and going to law school classes at night. No exercise. My back was so problematic that I could hardly carry my books from my car to class. Trips across parking lots were as if I were a pioneer looking across the vast and open plane to the destination at the edge of the horizon. When I would go to the grocery store, I found myself looking long and hard at the little electric carts…..but for me, I felt that would be giving up.

2005 in Ireland

I graduated law school n 2006. By then I was not working and was studying for the bar. Again. Very sedentary and no core strength to think of. Small tasks were made huge as a result of poor fitness and a “bad” back. I could not walk far. I could not stand for long periods of time. I could not sit long. It was not a good time for me.

Fall of 2007, a friend of mine and I decided that a good way to be sure we stayed in touch would be to do a 5k walk every month. Most of them had a one mile element and that would be a starting point. So, we signed up for the 2007 Candlelighters walk for childhood cancer. The day of the walk, my back ACHED. I took some meds and…well…a bit too much. When we took off, I was hunched over and we were definitely going to only do the one mile. But we missed the 1/2 mile turn around and were over half way through the 5k before we realized it. At one point, I had to tell my friend to stop talking to em for a while because I just had to try to make it through the walk and was hurting too bad. We finished. It was ugly. And we were definitely last.

We signed up for another…and after that another. And more. And soon we even signed up for a 10k in the Valley of Fire.  Finally I was moving and doing something besides getting closer to crippled.  And I liked it.

Stacey and I circa 2007

I even began spin class! There were setbacks, and my knee ended up requiring surgery. See, I had added golf to the mix too and was doing an awful lot given the weight I was carrying. But days after the surgery was at the 2009 Fatboy 5k. I went and though I could not walk it, I was there while Stacey did. And I was excited to get the leg going and get moving again.

By this time I was walking 5 and 10ks, golfing,  and never even looking at the electric cart at the grocery store. Then I started working at my current job, where some co-workers talked about Kayaking. I love the water and had been in the desert about 11 years by that time. So, I decided to give that a whirl and LOVED it.

Hoover Dam

Got my own kayak and absolutely enjoy every minute of a kayaking day.  That added yet another activity in to help improve my health as well as my quality of life. As a result, I have met tons of people with whom I really enjoy hanging out. They all also did something else  I never thought I would EVER want to do…..ROCK CLIMBING! So, I got a harness and some climbing shoes and started going to the indoor gym with them. It was really fun and so I started going regularly. It is good for balance and it is also a great time to visit and get some social time in for the week. I don’t climb a lot and really have stopped for now to get some more weight off. But I still go on the outdoor climbs so that I can hike and take pictures of my friends. It is so quiet out on the walls and peaceful. I love the time outside and the wonderful exhaustion that comes with a hard scramble and hike in and out. Today I find my weekends filled with hiking, biking, kayaking, golfing going to rock climbs or anything else that comes up. I bowl on a league for fun and I do CrossFit at CrossFit Max Effort in Las Vegas. I really have so much better a life than I did back when my back determined to limit me. I am writing this today because this week’s back pain reminded me how far this path has taken me. From looking at an electric scooter in the grocery store wondering if, at 45 my life had come to that, to eying Base Camp at Mount Everest at 51.

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