Monday, November 12, 2012
Yesterday I ran a new river, the Bottom Moose.
This river has been a sort of milestone for me. I have been aspiring to run it for a while. This is the kind of river most white water kayakers come to the Adirondacks for, and the past couple of years I've had to run easier things while my friends paddled on it because I was a beginner.
The description of it on the American Whitewater website says: "The Bottom Moose is perhaps the most famous, biggest, most important whitewater run in New York state." It also says, "Generally speaking, paddlers should have Class-V skills if they want to have fun on the Bottom Moose."
To put this into context, here is a summary of the river and rapid classification system:
- Class 1: Very small rough areas, requires no maneuvering. (Skill Level: None)
- Class 2: Some rough water, maybe some rocks, small drops, might require maneuvering. (Skill Level: Basic Paddling Skill)
- Class 3: Whitewater, medium waves, maybe a 3Ė5 ft drop, but not much considerable danger. May require significant maneuvering. (Skill Level: Experienced paddling skills)
- Class 4: Whitewater, large waves, long rapids, rocks, maybe a considerable drop, sharp maneuvers may be needed. (Skill Level: Advanced Whitewater Experience)
- Class 5: Whitewater, large waves, continuous rapids, large rocks and hazards, maybe a large drop, precise maneuvering. Often characterized by "must make" moves, i.e. failure to execute a specific maneuver may result in serious injury or death. Class 5 is sometimes expanded to Class 5+ that describes the most extreme, runnable rapids (Skill Level: Expert)
- Class 6: While there is some debate over the term "Class 6", in practice it refers to rapids that are not passable and any attempt to do so would result in serious injury, near drowning or death (e.g. Murchison Falls). If a rapid is run that was once thought to be impassible, it is typically reclassified as Class 5.
As this is only the end of my second season I certainly do not claim to have class V boating skills, by any stretch. At the moment I'm working my way up into class IV.
But the water was low, we had a big strong group, and the weather was fabulous. My friends assured me I had the requisite skills. So I went for it.
One of the more entertaining parts of the run is a 15-foot vertical drop. I didn't bother "boofing" or jumping it, but just penciled in.
Right after this a friend met us on the side of the river with a hot lunch he'd prepared on his camp stove - quesadillas with cheese and ham and salsa, and hot dogs, and cans of Mike's Hard Lemonade. Although these are not my normal foods, they definitely hit the spot as I was HONGRY. I even had a couple of the miniature Reese's.
My heart rate monitor estimated that I burned 1400 calories in the 4 hours we were on the river. In the end I ate far more than I needed that day, and when that happens I just have to eat at a deficit for a while to make up for it.
It was an awesome day, and I felt really good about how I ran the river. I only had one flip, and in most of the rapids I was just about where I'd wanted to be. I only "snuck" one of them - the class V named Crystal since I have a kayaking trip coming up in Argentina in two weeks and I want to stay uninjured until I get there! The other class V drop was dry and no one ran it.
I've forever heard talk about how scary the drops on this river are, and how technical - I wasn't prepared for how beautiful it was. The frequent twists and turns provided new views around every corner and the terrain was stunning.
I had fabulous company on the river that day - several very good friends and the coaching they gave me with suggestions about how to make it through big rapids like Shurform were spot-on. In the end kayaking really is about sharing time doing what you love in beautiful places with your good friends who have your back and vice-versa.
GPS tracks and a couple more photos here:
From a whitewater kayaking perspective, having run this river in relative style (even at low water) is kind of equivalent to having gotten to goal in weight loss. I have, in a way, finally "arrived." From here on I will continue to improve my skills, but finally now I can play on the rivers with most of my friends.
Monday, October 22, 2012
This weekend LESLIELENORE and her brother joined me and two others for what weíd planned to be a 20-mile paddle through the canal from Cayuga Lake to Seneca Lake and then down along the shore of Seneca.
Here's LESLIELENORE's blog post about the trip:
Pics and the gps track here:
Since they live so far away she crashed at my place and after she arrived we used the elliptical and equipment in my basement for our workouts. It was kind of fun having someone else down there, kickiní it too. Usually Iím by myself, rockiní out to rude pop songs.
Then we had protein shakes and played with the cats while waiting for another kayaker to show up, who also lives pretty far away.
Sunday morning we all got up at the crack of doom, dropped my car at the end point and went to the put in where a bridge crosses the canal. We launched at 9am.
The fall colors were stunning. And the temperature was great, and the sunlight felt so good.
Going through the locks was definitely a high point (no pun intended). The first set we did was actually two locks, and raised us 50 feet total.
In one of them the walls were covered with zebra mussels that would squirt and slam themselves shut when I touched them.
So I had fun brushing my fingers over them and making them squirt while the water rose.
We paddled through Seneca Falls (its claim to fame is the site where the the movement to allow women to vote began, and as one of the models for Bedford Falls in "It's a Wonderful Life.")
There is a trail along the canal with interesting sculptures:
The second lock, in Waterloo, was only about 14 ft. Waterloo claims to be where the idea of Memorial Day started.
In both cases we didn't have to radio them or get out and ask them to open the gates, or anything, they must have a motion alarm or something because they opened right up. We were the only craft we saw in any of the locks, and we only saw one other boat going on the canal (it was a big fishing yacht).
There was no danger of us exceeding the 10mph speed limit, even LESLIELENORE's brother, who specializes in paddling Very Fast.
At the beginning of the trip the water was still. But as the day continued the wind kicked up and was almost perfectly lined up with the direction of the canal so there wasn't much of a lee side to paddle on. LOL
By the time we got to the restaurant I was pretty well tired and had switched to my euro paddle from the Greenland stick.
We had lunch there about 2pm and then tried to get out onto Seneca lake.
By the time we got there was good sized chop and whitecaps on our rear quarter. About 2 miles down the lake our weakest paddler capsized and swam so we all hauled out onto shore and I decided it was time to stop. He wanted to keep going but I said no; I've read enough bad stories to know as a group we weren't strong enough to go 6+ more miles in those conditions.
We carried our boats up some steep steps by an empty cottage and around 4pm I walked with one of the other kayakers a mile to the main road where we thumbed a ride back to my car at the takeout. Once I got there what remained was a lot of shuttling of boats and people, trying to connect everyone with their cars and then with their boats. In the end everyone was headed home by 7 or 8.
Although we were about 6-7 miles short of our final destination we definitely had an epic paddle, and I donít regret it one bit, although Iím sore enough to take a rest day today. The only thing I do regret is forgetting to put on my heart rate monitor strap, so I have no idea how many calories I burned. Iím estimating about 1000 total.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
On the way to work this morning I was thinking about that game we sometimes play as kids. You know, the one where you get to pick a single superpower. Would you rather be able to fly, or maybe be invisible? Because people who write Wikipedia articles apparently have too much time on their hands (perhaps thatís their superpower), thereís a whole organized list of superpowers, here:
...my mother always DID say that I was impossible... LOL
There are powers that arenít on that list, though.
When I was 335.6 lbs (or even possibly more, since I didnít weigh myself regularly so who knows), I probably would have actually thought about it if someone had offered me the power to get the weight off, in exchange for, say, my right arm. I doubt I would have agreed to the deal, but I would have actually considered it. I suppose you could consider this a specific type of shapeshifting.
If youíd asked the 335.6 me whether Iíd prefer the power to GET 186 lbs off, or the power to KEEP 186 lbs off, I think I would have chosen the second one.
Because Iíd have figured it takes a certain amount of effort to get the weight off, and then youíre done with the losing part. But keeping it off kind of goes on forever, until you die. And Iíd lost 100+ lbs once before in my life, so I knew it could be done. What I hadnít ever managed to do was KEEP that weight off.
So I was thinking about this today, and I considered the fact that most superpowers have a cost. At least in the comic books Stan Lee created. Maybe not as extreme as giving up your right arm, but perhaps the need to recharge before using them again, or a little ritual or something to keep being able to use them. You know, ďWith great power comes great responsibility.Ē
So what would have been a reasonable cost for the superpower that allowed me to keep off 186 lbs? Having to, say, sleep 11 hours a night? Or regularly visit a guru deep in a city sewer for special meditation sessions?
And then of course my rational brain finally stepped in to these musings and said, ďgotcha!Ē
Because the fact is that I DO have the ďsuperpowerĒ to keep off this 186 pounds. And I've been using it for nearly three years. And it DOES have a cost. Right now the cost is tracking my food and nutrients, working hard on my strength training and conditioning, continuing to focus on *why* I want to stay this size, building tools and incentives in the maintenance team here on this site (like the maintenance challenges, celebrating maintenance anniversaries, compiling a maintenance hall of fame) , etc. teams.sparkpeople.com/maintaining
So yeah. There it is. I am actually exercising a superpower. And as a result, Iím living out my own personal graphic novel, as my own real-life avatar, having adventures I could have only dreamed of, back when I weighed 335.6 lbs.
Monday, October 01, 2012
I had a good kayaking weekend!
Saturday I went to the Black River in Watertown, NY and played with friends in my whitewater play boat behind Maggie's. www.americanwhitewater.org/co
Sunday I went in the OTHER direction, and paddled a sea kayak 14.4 miles from Branchport to Hammondsport with LESLIELENORE and her brother. Here's her blog post about the day: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_pu
Pictures and a GPS track, here:
They definitely had a LONG drive; unfortunately there aren't any lakes in the middle between us; if we want to paddle together one of us has to drive at least 3 hours.
It rained much of the day, but we all had fun, I think - at least I did! I agree with LESLIELENORE that it's nice to paddle with people who can keep up. In fact, they have much shorter, slower boats than I do and I felt like I really had to work, to keep pace with them. Seriously, if either of them acquires a QCC or an Epic racing boat, I don't think anyone will ever be able to keep up! Those two are STRONG paddlers.
I don't usually spend much time on calm water, and as a result I noticed something really cool that day I wouldn't have seen it if I were paddling my preferred rougher water. The lake was really smooth, and the raindrops would land, kind of bounce on the surface, and then sit there like tiny silver balls for a moment before merging with the lake water. It was neat watching that. I love being outside! And it's good to have friends who will provide a reason to get out of my usual zone to enjoy it.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Iíve joined in on TANYAP71ís blog question challenge.
I donít often manage to post blogs daily, so Iíll be answering questions here when I can and posting them en masse.
Itís been fun reading the responses from others, and to help me keep track of them, Iíve made a spreadsheet, here:
(this way Iíll be able to find those posts in the future, even after theyíve been buried by more recent ones)
21. Did you or do you have any disordered eating habits - binging, purging, excessive calorie restriction or excessive exercise? How did develop (or how are you developing) a healthier relationship with food?
I have occasional bouts with binging, maybe 3-4 times a year. Although the frequency of episodes is sparse, the behavior itself disturbs me. I have developed a number of strategies that help me avoid triggering binges:
Iíve also begun working with a dietitian and therapist to prioritize my strategies and see if I can re-wire my inclinations so that food is not a default way to deal with anxiety.
22. What is your current workout/fitness routine?
For most of the past two years it was cardio-heavy and looked
something like this:
M - Tae Kardio at lunchtime, Body Pump Class in the evening
Tu - XC ski at lunchtime (if there is snow), Spinning in the evening
W - Tae Kardio at lunchtime, Body Pump Class in the evening
Th - Tae Kardio at lunchtime, Spinning in the evening
F- Rest, stretching, sometimes a deep tissue massage
Sa - Playing outside (kayaking, XC skiing, snowboarding, road cycling, etc.)
Su - Playing outside
In the past few months I've been experimenting with a greater emphasis
on lifting heavy and building muscle (New Rules of Lifting for Women)
and so recently it looks more like this:
M - Lifting weights in the evening
Tu - Sea kayaking in the evening
W - Lifting weights in the evening
Th - Tae Kardio at lunchtime
F- Lifting weights in the evening or rest, if I'm driving to a weekend
Sa - Playing outside (kayaking, XC skiing, snowboarding, road cycling, etc.)
Su - Playing outside
I have an Olympic barbell set-up in my basement that I bought on Craig's List and that's where I do the lifting. So far I'm quite pleased with the results. I'm getting stronger, I have more definition in my arms and legs, my body fat is slowly dropping, and I am actually spending less time working out!
23. What are your current fitness goals?
I would like to get below 19% body fat.
24. When did you incorporate fitness goals into your healthy lifestyle? (Before starting to lose weight, during weight loss, after goal weight, etc.)
I started walking at the same time as controlling my food, so they happened together. The type of fitness I did changed over the process of the weight loss. See the next question for specifics.
25. Is there any form of fitness/exercise that you tried and gave up? Is there any form of fitness/exercise that you would like to try?
I started eating less and walking a half-mile loop around the block. When I got up to about 4 miles per day an old knee injury began to cause pain and stiffness. I was diagnosed with severe arthritis and switched from walking to deep water aerobics 2x/week, eventually increased it to 4x/wk, and then substituted spinning for the lower-intensity water aerobics class, and BodyPump for the higher-intensity water aerobics. In addition I added weight training with a personal trainer once a week and alone once a week.
Now Iím weight lifting on the New Rules of Lifting for Women program 2-3 times a week, alternating with kayaking or other things such as Tae Kardio classes.
26. Do you like to exercise alone, with a partner, in a small group, or in a large group? Why?
I prefer white water kayaking, which needs to be done as a team for safety reasons. I enjoy exercising with others in group fitness classes and on long bike rides. I enjoy the social aspect of fitness. For convenience, though, Iím weight lifting alone at home in my basement.
27. Have you ever hired anyone to help you with your journey? A personal trainer. A dietician/nutritionist? A wellness coach? A life coach? What worked and didn't work?
Iíve hired all kinds of people. Getting the weight off and keeping it off is a Big, Hairy Deal, and I can use all the help I can get! Iíve had a personal trainer for a while, until our schedules diverged. Iíve attended group fitness classes in water aerobics, spinning, and Body Pump, so in a sense you could say that I ďhiredĒ the instructors, since I paid for the classes. As I mentioned in question 21 Iíve recently hired a dietitian/therapist team to work with me on my relationship with food. Iíve paid for a membership at www.leighpeele.com so in a sense you could say I ďhiredĒ her for advice on her forums and the ďmembers onlyĒ materials (which are fantastic, by the way). I recently paid a sports physiology trainer to assess my lifting form to make sure I was doing the New Rules of Lifting movements properly.
All of these solutions have been helpful, in different stages of the process. Iím sure Iíll continue exploring new avenues and looking under rocks and turning over leaves in the future. Iím definitely not too proud to seek help with this. I will do everything in my power to maintain my fitness. If I regain, it wonít be for lack of trying. I'll give you my nutrition tracker when you pry it from my cold, dead hands! LOL
28. What do you do for wellness? For example, to increase emotional, spiritual, or intellectual well-being?
I find yoga helpful, and I need to make more time for it. When Iím doing it regularly (2-3 times per week) everything just seems to go so much more smoothly. My attitude is more relaxed and I take better care of myself. Massages are also very helpful. Not only do they un-knot my muscles, but my brain shuts off and goes elsewhere, which is a welcome break. I get a lot out of attending church on the rare Sundays when Iím not out kayaking. Connecting with a Power greater than myself helps adjust my relationship with the world.
29. There is so much MORE to you than your wellness journey. Please share 10 facts about yourself that aren't related to your weight loss journey, how you eat, or how you exercise.
1) I have two cats, and they walk all over me (especially while Iím trying to sleep).
2) The Holland Tunnel in NYC is named after my grandfather.
3) I like learning foreign languages.
4) I like traveling.
5) I detest housework and weeding.
6) I like blowing glass at a furnace.
7) I have 13 Revolutionary War ancestors and 1 Mayflower ancestor.
8) I have a PhD in genetics.
9) My first email address ended with ď.arpaĒ (pre-ĒinternetĒ as we know it)
10) Despite my dislike of weeding, I love iris.
30. What are you most proud of about your journey towards healthy living during the month of September?
That I didnít throw in the towel or give in to all the cravings I had. That I continued with the New Rules of Lifting even though I did it alone at home in the basement with the support of online friends. That I still fit in my Happy Jeans.
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