Sunday, April 11, 2010
Back in September I took a whitewater kayaking class so I could learn how to roll for my lake boating.
It was all well and good while we practiced in the pool, and even on the one day outing.
But everything changed when we did the overnight trip to the Middle Moose river in the Adirondacks.
We went down that section twice; once on Saturday when the river was running at 3.5, and once on Sunday when it was running at 4ft.
Saturday was a blast, although frustrating. I was in a giant RPM Max boat that was so big I couldn't maneuver it at all, but it was so buoyant that it basically floated me upright through everything no matter what I did.
Sunday was a mess. I traded down to a Jackson 4Fun play boat with much less volume (its original paddler got so beat up on Saturday he decided not to go at all on Sunday), the river was higher, and I swam at every rapid, as most of us did. One student even lost her paddle - we never did find it. The instructors decided halfway through to cut the trip short and we walked up the hill to the road.
That day I was cold, tired, and yet still wanted to keep going. And that day it became personal. Between me and the river. I vowed that I'd lose the rest of the weight, get my rolls solid, build up my core and upper body strength and return in time for spring to do that same section at the same water level, with finesse.
I decided I'd become the baddest 40-something ass on the river who used to weigh over 300 lbs. And if that pool of competition was too small, I'd open it up to ANY paddler on the river who used to weigh over 300 lbs. LOL
Today, 7 months later, the first time out in my new boat on moving water, I did it. No swimming, no rolling, AND we added a rapid at the end that was much bigger than anything I'd done in September. According to the gauge the water level was somewhere between 3.93 and 3.9ft, which is close enough to 4ft, in my book.
In one way I feel really good about this; I set out to show the Middle Moose who was boss, and I've done that. On the other hand, as so often with achievements, it was a bit anti-climactic.
I kept waiting for those big scary waves and holes I'd remembered. And we got to the point where the class finished in September and one of the guys said, "gee, that was tame" and I found myself thinking, "but it hasn't begun, yet. what happened?" And now that I've actually done it, on my first day out of the 2010 season, holy heck what am I supposed to AIM for between now and September?! LOL
According to one of my companions the last rapid we added was supposedly a low class IV.
One of the guys did come out of his boat (it's hard to roll that boat - it's a weird Italian play boat). Another who'd gone down before me said he'd come through the rapid all which-way. Somehow I got lucky on that one and missed most of the big holes and punched through the ones I didn't miss. And I stayed pointed downstream.
Part of the credit I think is due to my boat. It's a Pyranha M3 233 creek boat, designed for big water - and I bought it because I figured it would be forgiving of my mistakes more than a river runner or a play boat.
And I was right, I think. Today demonstrated that.
Unlike the RPM Max, it actually fits me, so there is lots of ability to edge and maneuver it. It spins on a dime. I can see that I'm going to find this boat very comfortable for a long time, unless I start getting into playboating.
Amusingly, on the way back to the cars we ran into the guy I'd bought the boat from. He now paddles a Pyranha Burn, which is the next generation after the M3 and he says he loves it.
Thursday, April 08, 2010
I got my iPod Touch in preparation for a business trip in January so that I could track my food on the fly without internet access. Since then I've added a bunch more apps that I find helpful for monitoring my health and fitness.
It seems time to list them all in one place, so I'll do that here.
1) Lean Me Pro
This is the food tracker I use. It works even without internet access, unlike the Spark app. I also track my cardio, weight, and % body fat with it. Customer support has been very responsive whenever I have contacted them.
(A popular free alternative is Lose It! www.loseit.com )
I use this for tracking my water. I just set up a list called "water 1, water 2, water 3, "etc. up to "water 8" and check them off as I drink them. At the end of the day I reset the list.
Another option is the water-specific app "HEALTH&WATER" by Merop:
The English is a bit strange and there isn't much functionality, but it does track 8 glasses of water per day in a cute way. The developer's website is unavailable, as well.
3) True Weight
This is a nice moving average weight tracker along the lines of the Hacker's Diet.
This is what I use to track my strength training sessions. It's very easy to use and has some nice features such as graphing weights and estimating the 1 rep max.
5) Sleep Cycle
This neat little app uses the motion sensor built into the Touch to monitor my sleep. It also has an alarm clock that will wake me up nicely in the morning. It's fun to look at my sleep graphs to see when I was dead asleep and when I was moving around. I've also noticed that I need to get more sleep - I've been averaging around 5-6 hours a night, which might explain some things, like the cravings and general ennui.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Maintenance is No Joke, as many people have pointed out.
I personally am struggling with the eating part of it; the exercise is pretty well locked in, with training for a half-iron Aquabike event in July (1.2 mi open water swim followed by 56 miles on the bike).
On Monday the scale read 165. *gulp*
It was probably due in a large part to salt from Easter dinner (ham, pickled green beans, cheese, etc.) Regardless, it was very unwelcome and shocking.
On my ticker I'm reporting the weighted moving average on Physics Diet because it smooths out the fluctuations that happen near goal.
The point, though, is that I AM struggling. I am not giving up. Never again. And I'm going back to what works for me. Protein. I think even the complex carbs of oatmeal have been too much for my system.
And as GRACEFULIFE has suggested privately, I need to stabilize my calories around 2000 and stop messing around with trying to go lower. That just makes me hungry the next day and sets me up for a potential binge.
I still also struggle mentally with self-esteem and the feeling that I'm super obese, a human anomaly who doesn't physically fit in society. 80-90% of the time I forget that I'm now a size 8-10 and still feel miserable about how my life is slipping by while I live in a coffin of fat. Phantom fat is real.
Yes I have been going to counseling. But these are well-worn mental ruts that will take some time to bust out of.
So, onward. I will beat this. I have to. Because regain is simply not an option. I refuse to go there.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Tonight was the last pool practice in Syracuse. At the end of the evening we asked the lifeguards permission to jump off the diving board in our kayaks. About 5 of us went for it.
I could never have done this at 335.6 lbs. Or even 235.6 lbs...
And it seems I've even made some progress since last September... hehe
Now I just need to find me some running water... LOL!
Saturday, March 27, 2010
So I'm registered for a local half-iron "Aquabike" event on July 11.
That's 1.2 mi (2000m) swimming in open water, followed by 56 mi (90 km) on a bike.
We won't get into the fact that I've never done a triathlon before, let alone the advisability of jumping into a half-iron. Or that I haven't done any chip- timed event before. It's all good, though, because all I want to do is finish.
I registered to scare myself into staying in shape. And boy, howdy! is it ever working as far as getting me to exercise. Because I'm finding out that the half-iron is actually kind of a big deal.
The training calendar I'm using was free and came from beginnertriathlete.com
It's designed for 20 weeks. I got a late start because I slacked off for what I thought was the first week and turned out to be the second week because I'd counted wrong, so I had to jump in on the third week of training... Good thing I've been doing spin class 2-3x/week and swimming 1000-1500m 2x/week all along.
Since I'm not going to be running (knee arthritis) I'm crossing out the running parts of the schedule and putting in my other activities like weight lifting and kayaking.
Even so, now the activity, especially the swimming, has kicked into high gear. This is what I've done so far this week:
Mon - OFF
Tue - Personal trainer kicking my butt lifting followed by 1 hrspinning
Wed - 2250 m of swimming (sprint intervals, pant pant)
Thu - 1 hr spin, 30 min lift, 1 hr spin
Fri - 2300 m of swimming (long & steady)
There was originally scheduled a group ride leaving from the local bike shop at 8am on Saturday (20 mi, 15mph) and I was planning on riding the 14 miles from my house to it, and the 14 miles home. They canceled it due to weather so instead I'll do an extended elliptical & lifting session in my basement.
I'm finding it sort of challenging to schedule the recommended trainings for the week around the available activities. I try to put the bike rides on Tuesday or Thursday (spin days) or Saturday (long outside ride day) and the swimming on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
This coming Sunday is the last kayak pool rolling session in Syracuse and after that Sundays will be available for biking (outside or a spin class) or swimming.
Speaking of the swimming, it's my weak link. Although I learned very young and swam recreationally for years, my stroke is really inefficient. I'm slow and I'm really tense. And now that I've lost all this fat and gained all this muscle, my buoyancy has really changed, as well.
I stumbled onto these videos over at beginnertriathlete.com and they really made sense:
Work less to swim better. Part one of this video series covers the philosophy of Total Immersion swimming and looks at some common freestyle swimming misconceptions.
Work less to swim better. Part two of this video series covers the principles of active streamlining to swim faster with less effort.
In this third part, Terry Laughlin discusses how to achieve an optimal freestyle stroke and what drills go into developing a good stroke.
They have a free downloadable "Easy Freestyle" book at the TI website:
So I tried it last night and really emphasized the relaxing and the glide just to see how it felt. I definitely found a difference in letting my head hang in the water and by the end of the 2300m it already felt so much more comfortable to try his method over what I've been doing. So I'm going to slow down my stroke and work on this kind of form and see how it goes.
I also found a local coach in this method so I'm going to investigate getting a few sessions with her to see if I can fix whatever I haven't picked up from the book and DVD I ordered at Amazon...
Easy Freestyle Swimming by Terry Laughlin
Total Immersion: The Revolutionary Way To Swim Better, Faster, and Easier
I hope the DVD and book have more information that what I've already gotten for free!
As far as the cycling, I think I'm in pretty good shape for that. I've got a lot more experience with distance riding than swimming - I used to ride 100-mile centuries in high school and college with my big brother and rode with the college team on their "easy" days - this is the same college team that Eric Heiden had been on a few years before I arrived at the school.
I've got a nice new ultra light racing bike and as soon as the weather warms up will be out on it. And I actually LIVE along the race route, so it's really easy for me to train on the exact course I'll be racing on. LOL
Based on how I did on the group ride last Saturday, I'm actually in better cycling shape than ever, thanks to the spinning. And I can say this without any doubt, because my old bike is the exact same one I bought in 1981 with babysitting money - the exact same (and only) bike I've ever owned, that I rode those centuries on and all those 20-mile training rides in college. And I've never been able to keep a pace like I did on Saturday, nor feel as fresh and ready to go again when it was over.
So that's what I've been up to, mostly. I am fortunate that my schedule is so flexible, with no one else to consider in my food and exercise plans. I can't imagine how people with families fit something like this in.
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