Friday, December 21, 2012
So it's been a very good year.
I broke all previous records from 2010 and 2011 (the year I was on shoulder rehab) for number of rivers paddled (47), hours in my boats (366:37:03), days paddled (103), difficulty of rivers paddled (IV-V), calories burned on rivers (48,146) and calories burned boating overall (116,200).
I kayaked in NY, MA, WV, PA, Costa Rica, Canada, Argentina, and Chile.
I paddled the Bottom Moose (IV-V)
And I'm back from my trip to Argentina and Chile:
I got on some of the biggest white water I've ever seen (the Futalefu in Chile). For a glimpse of the kind of thing I saw, take a look at the White Water Grand Prix race run on that river a few days after I was on it.
I might not have been on the same sections shown. And I was not racing other boats; I just wanted to stay upright because I had ear infections and didn't want cold water in my ear canals. I also had a chest cold and lungs full of fluid so I was out of breath much of the time. And there was a fever and those night sweats. But it was all good, once I was on the water; I didn't notice those things. And I didn't flip, which taught me that I can stay upright if I really really want to. (Normally I don't care because I can always just roll up.)
But it was the same river and it was Very Big. A LOT of water. The current was so strong and fast we went 4.3 miles in 1.2 hours. And we were not hurrying. We spent a lot of time at the put in, warming up, practicing skills, taking photos between the rapids, checking the gauge, etc. That might tell you how much water was going through there. It was a pretty high level, "70," even for the Futa.
Here we are, between the rapids, all tossing our paddles in the air, for fun:
(There was no taking pictures while running the rapids, which you'll understand if you watch the Grand Prix videos.)
So now here I am, back at home, the cold mostly finished (just hacking the last stuff out of my lungs) and 10 lbs above where I like to be, partly due to the difficulty of eating right while ill in a foreign country - you get so drained you just eat what is put in front of you rather than asking for more veggies and protein and less carbs and sugar. And judgement is kind of impaired in those situations anyway.
And I haven't weight trained since I left, which is now a month ago. And my jeans are tight. And here are the holidays, with temptations all around me and all my normal exercise options disrupted.
This blog is for me. A kind of vision collage, if you will, of the things I am looking forward to.
I have some short term goals, like being in my +/- 3% range for the weigh in on Monday for the Mardi Gras Maintainer Challenge docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform
But I also have some other long term goals in mind. If I can stay in good condition (which requires eating right, doing strength training, conditioning, and working on flexibility) I may be able to step up my game this year.
Here are some of the rivers I have in my sights as possibilities, depending on how well I can train and improve:
1. The Rouge in Quebec (IV-IV+):
2. Great Falls in the DC area: (V+)
3. The Upper Yough in Pennsylvania: (IV-V)
4. The Upper Gauley in West Virginia: (IV-V)
5, This is in addition to more runs on the Bottom Moose (IV-V)
If I want to do this, I have my work cut out for me, because it is very ambitious.
That means, food ON POINT, including paying attention to macronutrients as well as overall calories, continued strength training (I'm at Stage Three for New Rules of Lifting for Women), continued conditioning (XC skiing, spin class and tae kardio), and continued flexibility (yoga).
And so, here I am, on the darkest day of the year, heading into my off season, and trying to keep the motivation alive for the spring.
My first step is to do an entire week with the calories under 2000 and to resume the strength training. I've got 3 days to go for the calories and plan to restart strength training tonight.
Don't wish me luck. Prod me, poke, me, bug me, annoy me, and otherwise get under my skin and help me remember why I'm doing this.
So I can boat better.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Now and then people contact me and say that they are currently around the same weight as where I started, and they ask what it was like, and how I felt when I started, and how I even GOT started, and how I kept going.
Back then I would have been happy to get under 300 lbs. I don't think I ever really believed I could go under 200. But I tried (again) anyway, because I just didn't want to continue, in my mid-40s, feeling like an old lady, having trouble going up and down the stairs in my house, having trouble fitting into chairs, and feeling generally unattractive and unfit.
The links below are to excerpts from the journey I made from 335.6 lbs to about 200 lbs. Removing the last 50 was a different sort of journey. And removing and keeping off the last 10 has proved the most challenging of all.
(335.6 lbs, BMI = 52.6) May 2007 - Apr 2009
Apr 2009 - Jun 2009
Jun 2009 - Sept 2009
...and now? Holy crap, all you have to do is look at my most recent kayaking blogs.
Seriously, if you had told me in November 2008 that in four years I would be kayaking class IV-V rivers and flying to Argentina for a white water kayaking trip, I would have laughed and asked what drugs you were on, and joked that I wanted some.
And then I would have waited until I was alone and I would have cried, because something like that would have sounded so amazing and wonderful and so completely and ridiculously impossible.
Yet here I am. And next week I will run this rapid in Argentina. With style.
So when I say in my signature on every message board post, "Never, ever, EVER give up!" I really mean it.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Whenever houseguests have stayed in the past I've whipped myself into a frenzy to try and make my home hygienic, if not presentable. Litter box and cat bathroom spotless, cat hair tumbleweeds swept out of the corners of the stairs, my bed made, everything vacuumed, dishes done and put away, kitchen clean, laundry folded and put away.
And I've otherwise pretty much neglected the house and yard the way I used to neglect my exercise and nutrition. I'm starting to see that this pervasive self-neglect leads to feeling badly about myself and my life, and that taking care of myself helps me feel loved.
I've recently been through the guest cleaning cycle and over the subsequent weeks especially needed to practice self-kindness due to hitting a very rough emotional patch. So when things went south and I found myself spiraling down into sadness, I took a different strategy. I continued the behaviors for keeping things the way I like them.
It makes me happy to see my bed made and the rugs vacuumed. It makes me feel like someone loves me. And you know what? Those are very good reasons to do it. These are not chores to be avoided, they are self-nurturing behaviors which bolster my feelings of self-worth.
Now of course these concepts are obvious, in hindsight. But given how I'm wired, it took an extremely painful situation for me to finally make the connection:
Feeling nurtured and loved removes one of the most powerful inducements to my binges, namely the idea that self-neglect is OK and appropriate because no one loves me or cares about me, least of all me, and they never will. I've carried this negative thought pattern with me for many many years and it's even more powerful than my desire to continue to fit in my kayaks.
Now that I've made that connection, and since my fitness and health are indirectly at stake, in a twisted way I can finally appreciate the value of this concept. Making my bed will make me happy, and if I'm happy, even just from the little things, I'm less likely to spiral into that sort of negative thinking. And therefore less likely to binge, and therefore more likely to continue maintaining my fitness and health.
So, yeah. Add vacuuming, cleaning the litter box, and yes, making my bed to my list of anti-binge strategies.
Because you know what? This isn't about the guests. *I* am worth it.
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 3–5 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.
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