Thursday, August 05, 2010
I find it hard sometimes being altogether too human while sustaining a nearly superhuman weight loss. Yes, I did it. Yes, I'm trying to balance keeping the weight off while exploring my world as a smaller, fitter person. No, it isn't easy.
Yes, I've been able to take up whitewater kayaking. Yes, I've rapidly improved at it, but no, I'm not where I want to be in it. This past weekend the Deerfield River decided I'd gotten a bit too uppity (and it's true I had) and taught me a brusing lesson that kept me out of the boat half of Saturday, all of Sunday, and off my road bike today.
It's painful because I have no idea what my limits ARE anymore, since I've exceeded so many of the ones I used to believe in. So now I'm trying to catch up with my 20-something paddling friends (who started almost a year before me) and why not?! I mean, I've done things already beyond my wildest dreams. Why SHOULDN'T I be paddling class IV rapids cleanly less than a year after beginning the sport?
So what if I'm in my mid-40s and female (and they're male and in their 20s)? So what if three years ago I carried more fat on me than I weigh total now? I'm superhuman, right? I can clearly do ANYTHING, so I will, right?
I'm not a patient person. When I figure out what I want I usually end up wanting it yesterday. So I have a hard time when things in life give me a reality check. I mean, my recent transformation has been so unreal, I don't even know what kind of world I live in anymore. It's quite disorienting. And disappointing when things don't go the way I hope they will.
I'm resting up so I can paddle this weekend. I'm going to work on my skills, strength, and use this disappointment to fuel progress toward my overall maintenance goals.
When I first really discovered white water kayaking late last autumn I wasn't even to my goal weight yet, and decided I wanted to be the baddest 40-something ass on the river who used to weigh over 300 lbs. I'm probably close to that already but it's not enough anymore.
Maybe I didn't conquer the Dryway this weekend. But I will eventually, and when that day comes I'll be ready for it. Despite my age. Despite my gender. Despite my fitness history. Despite how long or not I've been paddling.
GRACEFULIFE asked what actually happened, so I'll paste my response here:
Well, let's see.
I left my house super early (4:30am), picked up my paddling buddy at 5:30, and we drove to Charlemont, MA (5+ hours) met up with some more paddling friends, and headed down the Dryway around 11 or 12.
www.americanwhite water.org/content/River/detail/ id/681/
I wasn't scared at all and I probably should have been. I was tired from the drive and didn't take that into account. I was in my creek boat which I haven't used much these past few months. I have been paddling pretty easy water lately, too, and after a 2-week hiatus. And the stretch we were running starts out really easy with a bunch of fun class III rapids and then suddenly at the end it's three class IV rapids in a row. So it was kind of a recipe for disaster, but I was not experienced enough to recognize it.
I flipped a couple of times on the upper section and managed to roll up without too much difficulty. I noticed that my creek boat just doesn't maneuver like the play boat and I was having to adjust my paddling style to accommodate that.
I flipped in the first class IV rapid (Dunbar) and had trouble getting back up so I popped out. That wasn't good, but it wasn't fatal. Got me and my gear to the side, emptied the boat, and got back on the river.
The second class IV rapid (Dragon's Tooth) we scouted and I ran it OK but eddied out river right instead of river left where I was supposed to be.
That set me up for an awkward line entering the last rapid, Labyrinth. I got flipped, couldn't come up, and ended up popping out and swimming most of that one. It was really... something. Lots of water, getting pushed down, surfacing with barely time to catch another breath before being shoved under again.
So that was enough for that day. The following day I was back and ready to do the whole thing clean.
But I was kind of wigged out about the day before and hadn't logically thought through WHY I'd been having trouble rolling. (now I think it's because my head was coming up too soon)
So I paddled really conservatively and not quite aggressively enough for conditions.
Managed to get through most of the whole thing including Dunbar and most of Dragon's Tooth without even flipping, but flipped at the end of the second-to-last rapid.
Again I had trouble rolling up. And this time I was getting hit HARD by underwater rocks. It was ugly. My paddle was being yanked around in my hands by the current. It was too much. I popped out.
There was a raft right behind me on my tail and to avoid being run over I grabbed onto their webbing. My foot got caught in my boat's backband strings. The raft guide hauled me up onto the raft where I was stuck on my back with my leg hanging over the side still tangled in my boat.
And we started going down Labyrinth that way. With me getting thrown from side to side as my boat flailed in the rapids. I was terrified that my leg was going to get broken and started screaming to let me off the raft. The guide told me to "let my foot come out of the bootie."
This is impossible with the booties I have. They're ON, and for good reason. They're hard to pull off even when the velcro is released. I screamed that I couldn't, at which point she reached down and cut the strings tangling my foot.
My shoulder already hurt at this point but at least my leg was OK, thank God. I took my paddle and joined the raft customers paddling the raft down the rest of the rapid. Even injured I could tell by feel that only the guide and I were really paddling that thing. It was pretty funny.
I was reunited with my boat down below, got into it, and paddled to the takeout.
The whole thing was just really upsetting, especially the shoulder injury part, because we'd planned to run the river again in the afternoon and paddle the following day before heading home.
It was also disturbing because a bad shoulder injury (like a rotator cuff issue) can put an end to your season.
And I was worried that I was holding back my friends and that I wouldn't be able to paddle with them anymore, because I suck.
One of 'em is training to be an EMT so he used towels to make a sling. Another actually had ice in his beer cooler so I could stick some up under there. And eventually we got me back to my car where my pain pills were.
They got to run the river again, and my carpool buddy did get to run something the day after.
But it was painful physically and emotionally and I think the river got my attention, which is what needed to happen, given that I was oblivious to all the compounding potential signs of a problem. It wasn't so much the Dryway that bit me, but my own hubris.
What is actually hurt is my trapezius. I suspect that a rock hit it while I was upside down in Dragon's Tooth because it hurts most right over the place where my bones are near the surface.
I did ride my bike to work on Tuesday, but yesterday it was hurting again so I skipped the commute today and am icing it.
I really want to paddle again this weekend so I hope if I take it easy that'll be possible.
Older maybe, but not necessarily wiser than my companions. But maybe if I can learn some patience and restraint I'll get there.
The point of this post is that I don't KNOW my limits anymore. Unfortunately I really can't find out where they are unless I exceed them sometimes. Given a different set of conditions, I would have run that stretch fine, I suspect.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Mile 46. 10 left to go.
The good news is that I went the whole distance (1.2 miles open water swim, 56 miles on bike).
The bad news is that I missed the bike course cutoff by 18 minutes so they didn't list even my swim time in the results. As far as the results are concerned, I never even did it.
But *I* know I did it. My muscles sure do.
I barely made it out of the swim course - with 2 minutes to spare. I'm a super slow swimmer.
According to my HR monitor, here are my times (since I don't get any from the microchip I wore the whole time)
1.2 miles swim
165 max HR
128 avg HR
56 miles bike ride
156 max HR
136 avg HR
I don't regret doing it, but I'm glad it's over, and now I can go back to my kayaking with a clean conscience, not feeling like I should be triathlon training, instead! LOL (I signed up for this event back in November, long before I got hooked on white water...)
And by the way, 2456 calories is way more than I usually eat in a day. And I *burned* it, on top of my BMR. LOL
P.S. About the "training" - I was doing fine until April when white water season started and simultaneously the pool I was using closed for 3 weeks for a semester break. I started paddling frequently and never looked back. It was so much more fun. I rode my bike outside probably about 3 or 4 times since April. Spin class became unavailable sometime in May due to summer break at the college where they teach it.
I'd swum 1.2 miles only once before, in the pool and wasn't as fast as I did it yesterday. And that was back in February. I believe the last time I rode my bike more than 26 miles in a single shot was in the 1980s. To be honest, I wasn't 100% sure I was physically going to be able to complete the course.
Having done it, I have no doubt that if I'd actually stuck to the training schedule I would have completed the course in plenty of time, both swim and bike. But the training is so boooooooring compared with kayaking. I'd rather spend my energy paddling and training FOR paddling (cardio mixed with strength training) than focusing on just the cardio for this (bike + swim)
Maybe if I didn't have knee arthritis that prevents running I would be more into this - after all, as an "aquabike" participant I was already ineligible for any prizes or anything.
Anyway, I tried something new, did it, and found out that training for it just doesn't float my boat (literally). I don't regret trying it, and I'm relieved that I finished it, (and feel fine today). Now I know.
And NEXT YEAR I'm going to leave my ENTIRE SUMMER open for kayaking, because I can't tell you how many enticing trips with friends I had to turn down already for A) the diabetes charity ride I'd signed up for, and B) this triathlon.
I have two more things coming up, neither of them timed:
1) 1.2 mile charity swim next month. Piece of cake.
2) 100 mile charity ride in September. I'll just start riding my bike to work on a regular basis (14 miles each way). Should be fine.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
As of this past Saturday evening I have now paddled 19 different rivers/creeks.
The most recent were the Hudson river
and the Sacandaga
...both of which are fed by scheduled dam releases, which are very convenient!
Not sure what will be #20, or even when; I have a friend coming to visit and will be doing a triathlon with her this coming weekend and traveling with her the following weekend. So I'll be out of the boat(s) for a while. I may even end up with kayaking withdrawal... LOL
Friday, June 25, 2010
This was originally written as a response to one of GEE-KNEE's blog posts
But I've thought about it since I wrote it, and finally decided it deserved its own post status.
I've been less than thrilled about my 15 or so lb gain from my lowest weight in March.
A few days ago I revisited a video of myself in a pool session, practicing a kayak roll at the end of February.
And I thought about how I was lighter back then, with a lower % body fat. And I watched that feeble roll and realized something.
If I could have all this weight and fat back off to where I was in that video but have to trade my kayaking skills, I wouldn't do it. Because I love kayaking, and there's no way I'd be running the rivers I'm doing now without the skills I've gained since that movie was shot.
And then yesterday I had another epiphany. There's no reason that has to be a choice. Summer just started. Kayaking continues comfortably through September. I know how to lose 15 lbs, and I know how to lose the last 5 after that.
I can have BOTH my kayaking skills, AND the body I want. So I'm gonna. Because the only thing stopping me is ME.
And here's an even cooler deadline. Why not see if I can get my physicsdiet.com weighted moving average back down to a healthy BMI (under 160) by the one year anniversary of when I first set foot in a whitewater boat? July 25.
Here's me last weekend, running a class III+ rapid ( "Garberator") on the Ottawa river in Canada
What a difference, eh? More photos here
Why NOT celebrate by giving myself back the body I want, AND have the skills to go with it?!
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