Planning what I consider to be an epic adventure is not difficult, but keeping motivated along the way is. I am a procrastinator by nature…or habit. By some people’s measuring stick what I do is pretty simplistic. And, really it isn’t brain surgery. But it is pushing my limits and if I am pushing my limits it is just as adventurous as those who fly into space or dive to the bottom of the seas. That is part of what is good about life I can be thrilled by something inert to someone else who can be thrilled by something inert to me. While the Bible tells us there is nothing new under the sun and Mr. Burger taught me in 7th grade science that all mass that exists and ever will exist is here in the universe now, I can search for what parts of the mass which exists that is interesting to me. My Dad, rest his soul, had all the adventure he ever wanted in the Korean War. It changed him and he was not seeking anything really new after that. That was sad. He never understood why in tar-nation I did the things I did. In 6th grade when I went to a gun camp with the Janet Miller on Orcas Island, he was baffled why I would do that. When I went on a summer mission trip to the Philippines in college, he thought I was crazy. When I went to Mt. Everest in 2012 he was just plain worried sick. But he always admired those things after I was home safe. I guess the war just made him think that there was no place like home and everyone ought to be there!
So this upcoming trek is to Machu PIcchu. I watched a documentary called Keep the River to Your Right a few years back and thought it would be fun to go there. That guy is in his 70’s and he is doing just fine. I didn’t know until well after I booked the trek that he had simply taken a train in to the ruins. I will be walking for four days to get there. Will go over a pass at nearly 14,000 feet. Will sleep in tents and eat over a camp kitchen with porters and my friend Maggie. The planning for this began in Earnest about a year ago. That gave me plenty of time to get fit and thin. Or at least lose a good amount of weight.
I was off to a great start, but waned in the middle when I had two surgeries and the doldrums and a special needs puppy. So now I find myself with about 90 days to departure, in fair shape but heavy and mad at myself as I look to crack down for the next 90 days.
To accomplish this I am going to take on workouts and healthy eating not unlike the contestants in shows like The Biggest Loser and Extreme Weight Loss. It will take accountability and dedication. I guess the kind a procrastinator musters when the going gets tough, read time is running out. Fast. Really fast. I have a home gym of my own. It is pretty well-appointed and kinda cool. Well, its hot now with temps outside in triple digits. No excuse. I can walk during work but it is hot. No excuse. I can give up sugar and grains and focus on paleo but I like a good desert now and again. No excuse.
I love my adventures. I am sure that the Mount Everest Base Camp Trek changed me in good ways I never would have experienced here in my little desert bubble. I am excited to find out how Peru will change me. What I will hear and see and what I can take back. Not in the way of souvenirs or photographs, but inside. But to even get there, to maximize my experience I will need to do this last leg of preparation like there is no tomorrow.
The CrossFit community held yet another wonderful, fitness event. This time to determine the fittest people in Las Vegas. It was sponsored by the United States Marines, and they were there in force to assist and support all of the athletes who participated.
The gyms that were there were CrossFit Max Effort, CrossFit 702, Apollo CrossFit, Camp Fit Force, Sin City CrossFit, Progressive Force, CrossFit Las Vegas and Kaizen CrossFit….I think that is it.
The morning started with a wrinkle in that the field was being used by two entities. Along with the Fit Wars, there was a Cricket tournament scheduled for the other half of the field. The problem was, the games set up as directed only to find that the cricket guys had also be told to
set up on the same end of the field. However, since they must have patches of grass specially groomed,the wars were required to move. So, everyone grabbed gear, apparatus, and display booths and simply…relocated.
Nobody seemed to get flustered or miss a beat. Everyone just settled in and got ready for what would be a long hot day of fierce competition. I must say that, once again, I was impressed with the camaraderie between all of the athletes as the day moved along. While each competitor clearly wanted to win and gave it their all, they seemed to be happy for the challenge others provided them and when the outcome was not a win, people were genuinely happy for each other.
The first event had each person doing weighted pull ups and one arm kettle bell extensions. This was brutal stuff.
Not only did the individual have to pull themselves up until their chin was over the bar, they had a belt around their waists and they kept adding more and more weight to it.
The nest round found them all having to do some grueling load carries…..ammo cans whilst wearing flack jacket, helmet and carrying a rifle, burpees, thrusters; wheelbarrows loaded with all the gear and some dumbbells to boot;and some out-and-out sprinting. All this while it was well into the 90’s on an October Vegas Saturday. Watching these competitors was unbelievably inspiring. Hat after heat with all sorts of them were right back on the line supporting the next competitor.
In the woman’s division, Max Effort sported the 2nd, 3rd and 4th most fit women in Las Vegas! But it took all day in the hundred degree heat to find that out. Jen, Nicole and Lauren were joined by Adam, who made it to the finals for the men. There were several Max Effort guys on the field, and every single one of them impressed me with their fitness, their skill and their “dig deeper”.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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………..
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.