Manifolds

May 20, 2010

Time spent in boats

Filed under: health,kayaking,sports,travel — origamifreak @ 6:45 am

A friend remarked this weekend that I’ve improved ridiculously fast in my kayaking skills since the last time he’d seen me practice my rolling in a pool in early March. He said it was due to spending so much time in the boat(s).

I was reflecting on this and decided to actually add up all the hours just to see how much time I really have spent padding. The results surprised me.

Since January 31 I have spent the following number of hours paddling:

  • 14:11 – pool and lake rolling practice  (This doesn’t include the rolling I do every time I get into the water. I want to keep this skill strong and fresh.)
  • 19:57 – class I rapids and sea kayaking
  • 10:40 – class II rapids
  • 13:27 – class III rapids
  • 1:28 – class IV rapids (which was over my head but I was lucky)

Which adds up to almost 60 hours in the water with a paddle in my hands.

Since the beginning of April (less than 6 weeks ago) I have paddled 6 different rivers and 3 lakes, some of them multiple times.   A bonus to this is that I’ve explored more of wild NY state in the past month than I have the past 10 years of living here!

I have used 7 whitewater boats and 4 sea kayaks. I rolled all of them successfully except one of the sea kayaks that has a high seat back.

By the time Memorial Day rolls around there will be 4-5 more waterways on that list, most of them class III and III+.

Which, considering I only just started lake paddling in earnest in July and began whitewater in late September *is* kind of stunning, I suppose.

I feel so driven:

  1. I just love it. Try to keep me out of a boat. I dare you.
  2. I want to make up for lost time, now that I’m physical condition to do it
  3. I want to cram as much progress in as possible before I lose my physical ability to handle it (One of my paddling buddies this weekend is in her 60s and an incredible boater, so perhaps this is less of a worry than I think it should be)

Despite all this, paddling is really more of a *reason* to stay in shape than a *way* to stay in shape because it involves a lot of time sitting in the car driving to a destination and sprinting-type exertion once I get there.

Which means I absolutely have to keep up with the spinning, strength training, and swimming so I’ll have the power and stamina to handle boating all day for multiple days in a row as will happen in two weeks.

And I have to pay attention to technique to avoid shoulder injury and ice the tendons in my right wrist that became inflamed during the sea kayaking trip two weeks ago.

It’s a shame I don’t enjoy cycling as much because that does burn carbs. I do love cycling, but not as much as paddling. It doesn’t grab me the same way.

There’s nothing like approaching a drop, where the world ends over the edge, with your heart pounding and fear running through your veins, and your mind focused on getting down cleanly and eddying out at the bottom to avoid getting mushed up against a dangerous canyon wall…

Gee. That doesn’t sound very fun, does it? But it is, I assure you!

May 5, 2010

Qajaasaarneq

Filed under: health,kayaking,sports,technology — origamifreak @ 1:35 pm

I’ve been paddling a lot lately, both flat and white water.

But yesterday I got to try something new – qajaasaarneq – Inuit rope gymnastics designed to keep kayak hunters in shape during the off season. These exercises are supposed to be the closest thing to rolling a kayak there is, without involving a boat and water, LOL.

These days there are competitions for who can do the most moves in half an hour (each side, forward & backward). There are 26 moves in all.

Let me tell you, these exercises are challenging. I managed the Akulaammillugu move forwards with my right leg above the rope, and could do it until I was dizzy. It’s the easiest move and the only one I mastered.

I almost managed Akulaammillugu backwards with the same leg in front. My pulled hamstring complained when I tried Akulaammillugu forward with the left leg in front.

I *almost* managed Pallussineq but just couldn’t quite get all the way back over.

All of us tried Qajaasaarneq and a few of the more experienced kayakers managed it, both forward and backward.

It was a really good workout. So good that I’m thinking of getting rid of the Bowflex in the basement, moving the Olympic cage to where the Bowflex is, and hanging some ropes where the Olympic cage is now. That could be a fun thing to have in the basement to work on during the winter…

We also tried some of the high rope exercises. One guy even managed to get up and over it! None of us managed the one-hand hold (Kisitsineq).

The requirements for setup are pretty minimal. It would be fun to see this end up as a new esoteric exercise regime for the masses, LOL.

April 11, 2010

A kayaking goal accomplished! One more step toward badass status. LOL

Filed under: kayaking,sports,technology,transportation,travel — origamifreak @ 4:58 pm

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 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. 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 4 ft, 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.

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 loves it.

March 12, 2010

New BMI = 23.65

One more milestone hit today.  They’re coming more slowly, now.

My current weight by the scale is 151 lbs, which is exactly one pound over goal weight.  Woot!

I have officially lost 55% of my starting weight.  That is more than every contestant on Biggest Loser except Danny who won Season 8 by losing 55.58% of his starting weight as of this past December.

By the time I’m done I will likely exceed his loss, because in order to get my average weight to 150 I will have to drop below that and bounce around between 145 and 155.  55.58% of my starting weight is 149.07 lbs.   And 145 would be 56.79% of my starting weight.

The kayak rolling is coming along fairly nicely.  3 more pool sessions left.  I’m working on the flatwater drills suggested in the Bombproof Roll book.  Video here.

Last night I did two spinning classes with a weight lifting session in between to see if I could.  I could.

Total calorie burn from exercise = 452 + 116 + 535 = 1103.

The second spinning class was a lot of work – my muscles were telling me about it and I was sweating so hard it felt like I was under water. But I did it, and burned over 500 calories according to the HR monitor, so it’s good.  And I need to start doing endurance things to get myself used to going for as long as that triathlon in July is going to take…

February 23, 2010

Wow, I’m really dense!

Filed under: health,sports,technology — origamifreak @ 8:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Yeah, we already KNOW I can be dense in the mental arena, LOL.

But what I’m talking about is my mass/volume ratio.

Because tonight I was swimming my laps after water aerobics and wondered why, sometimes in the shallow end, when I was slow on my flip turn, why I would sometimes find myself sitting on my butt on the bottom of the pool after exhaling.

So once I finished I did a little experiment. I laid on the surface and let out my air. Woosh. I landed on the bottom. I held my breath down there for a little bit to see if I’d come back up. Nope. So I stood up.

And then I told the lifeguard I was going to try this in the deep end, just to find out if I really was sinking. And I went down there over by the ladder and did the same thing. And I sank like a stone. It was so fast I actually got a little scared and started swimming back up before I hit the bottom (12 ft). My ears were even feeling the pressure.

Dang. Now I think I understand why some people are afraid of water, especially deep water. It would be kind of scary to find myself at the bottom down there and what if I didn’t have the energy to pull myself back up to the top and wanted to breathe? Yikes.

Last time I was that deep (about 18 months ago) I swam down to retrieve a piece of the underwater vacuum for the lifeguard. I was so buoyant that they had to put down a pole so I could pull myself down the last few feet using my arms, because I just couldn’t swim against my own tendency to bob back up.

This time I think if I went down there again, I’d ask for a pole so I could pull myself UP, if necessary! Heck, if I could hold my breath long enough, I could probably walk around down there.

Bizarre. This whole physical metamorphosis is just bizarre. In some ways it’s almost as surreal as waking up one morning shaped as a cockroach. LOL

February 11, 2010

House update

Filed under: home improvement — origamifreak @ 9:28 pm
Tags: , , ,

Finally – FINALLY, it looks like the nightmare is over.

The new contractor came and worked a lot with a helper over the past week, rebuilt the crappy stairs that the ex-con ex-contractor built (where every tread and riser was a different depth and height), finished putting the floor down, installed the shades I ordered, finished all the painting, fixed the broken wiring that the last guy left (grr), swapped out the ivory outlets and switchplates for white, installed closet doors, etc etc etc.

They officially finished yesterday but he’ll come back on Saturday to give me my key and get the final paycheck.  He will also do any last -minute things we forgot (and I’ve found a couple – some switchplates and outlets that need to be replaced/installed, etc.)

I can finally finally finally breathe a sigh of relief, and consider this long, long, long, frustrating and painful chapter of my life CLOSED, and set my house back up and MOVE ON.

There are some things left by the last guy which aren’t worth trying to fix – semi-gloss that sloppily ended up on the ceiling when they painted the walls and shines weirdly when there’s lots of light, a small hole in the wall in the bathroom and a poorly-cut frame on the pocket door that I’ll have to fill, but it’s done as it’s going to be, and I will live with it.

This guy is everything the last one was not.  He showed up when he said he would, did the job, did it well, and GOT IT DONE. No personal drama, no lies, no crap, no bullshit.  No children at the job site.  No calls from his wife at 3am.  No requests for advances to pay for vehicle repairs.  No joint ashes in the bathroom or laundry room.  I am very very grateful.  This was a thankless job to get, cleaning up someone else’s mess, and he did it professionally.

I’m already talking with him about redoing my kitchen next winter.  It will involve gutting the whole thing and chopping out walls and putting in cabinets and replacing the walls with an L-shaped island.  It’s going to be awesome.  My neighbors have done this to their houses that are just like mine and it really opens up the space.

Kudos to my friends who recommended the replacement guy, and hooray.

New BMI = 23.99

Things are moving much more slowly in the weight loss department now.  And I’m OK with that, after finding out a month ago that my body fat percent was 19%.

I hit this milestone last Saturday but I’m out of the habit of even looking to hit those weight loss milestones, anymore – I’m more focused on figuring out how to adjust my macronutrients and calories for burning carbs rather than stored fat (since there isn’t as much of it, anymore!  LOL).

I’ve noticed that when my average calories drop below 1500 I tend to get really strong cravings – much stronger than I’ve experienced over the past year.  And they’ve sometimes led to binges over the past month.  Grr.  So I’ve adjusted my calories up and added some apple, citrus, and wholegrain crackers back into my diet.

The next milestone will be in 1.2 lbs when I’ll have removed 55% of my original body weight.

I’m getting really close to my goal weight of 150 lbs.  This morning I was 152.4, which is within the 3 lbs above and below that I would like to use as my maintenance bracket.

I’ve been increasing my swimming distance, too.  Last night I swam a mile (32 laps in the metric pool).  The total swimming distance for the aquabike triathlon is 1.2 miles = 2000m (the equivalent of 40 laps in a metric pool).  I’d like to get to the point where I’m swimming that distance fairly regularly before it’s time to jump in the lake and practice in open water in a wetsuit, because I know those things will slow me down and add to the difficulty.

The training program I’m using will start on March 1.  Since I’m technically doing a duathlon (aquabike doesn’t include the running), I’ll substitute my regular exercise for the running bits.  My aim right now is to have a strong base fitness going into the start of the training program.

January 26, 2010

Am I done?! Really?! Yikes. :-o

My initial goal has been 150 lbs or 25% body fat, whichever came first.

My Tanita scale has been indicating anywhere from 22% to 26% body fat for the past week or so.

I suspected I was close, but wouldn’t know until I had it measured by a more accurate method.

While in CA on January 15 through a DXA scan I found out my body fat is actually 19%.
emoticon
Are you freaking KIDDING me?! That’s actually in the “athletic” category.  Specifically Nordic skiers, bicyclists, and swimmers.  Gee, what a coincidence, LOL

However, last year at this time I still weighed around 300 lbs, so it’s a lot to mentally adjust to.

Apparently what’s going on is that my BONES are uber-dense.  As in over 3 standard deviations denser than normal.  The T-score is 3.5, the Z-score is 3.2, if you’re into that sort of thing.  This doesn’t mean I have *big* bones – I’m still small-framed by all the measures I’ve tried.  It just means that my tiny little bones are the osteo equivalent of titanium, or something.  Which actually bodes well for the future, because they lose density, I’ll eventually end up at “normal” while everyone is fracturing their hips at 80…

So my dense little bones are tricking my scale into thinking I’ve got more fat than I do.  Because the scale is using average values for my age and gender, etc. to estimate body fat.

This body fat percent means, technically, that by at least one measure I am done. I have been processing this information for the past couple of days – I actually cried a little in the car on the way back on Thursday, because I was just so overwhelmed. I wasn’t expecting this. I wasn’t really ready for it.

I have been lightening up on the calorie restriction but continuing with the heavy exercising, with predictable results. This morning I’m up to 158. So I’ll be pushing back down on the restriction a little more.

In the meantime, realizing that I’m probably going to be close to this size for a while, and having my two sisters handy, I indulged in SHOPPING. Me. Who has historically H.A.T.E.D. shopping. With a Passion.

In the interests of public service, here is a rundown of the thrift and consignment stores my sisters and I investigated:

1) American Cancer Society Discovery Store, Rancho Bernardo
16787 Bernardo Center Drive, San Diego – (858) 385-0479

Small store, Salvation Army-type prices & selection. Found the sparkly $18 blue velour dress on sale in the above pic for half off.

2) Girlfriend’s Consignment Boutique, Poway
12222 Poway Road, Poway, CA – (858) 679-1222

Upscale. Lovely selection. Found a really nice workout top and leather pants ($26).

3) Plato’s Closet, Escondido
1220 Auto Park Way, Escondido, CA – (760) 233-0002

Geared toward 20 year olds. Found some really nice workout gear there. Lots of colors and styles and the ability to be picky.

4) Deborah’s Next to New, Escondido
1624 E Valley Pkwy, Escondido, CA – (760) 743-8980

Large selection. Similar items scattered throughout the store. Quality ranges from Salvation Army to upscale. Found an awesome lined suede long skirt there for $29.

I had to get a box to ship all this stuff home…

January 10, 2010

New BMI = 24.43

TWO milestones this morning:

  1. I’ve officially lost 180 lbs
  2. I’ve lost another 5% net, so when I get home I get to choose another BUFF to add to my collection.  This was the last official 5% net interval left before goal, although realistically I will probably hit another one in the process of undershooting while stabilizing.

Next milestone in 1.6 lbs when my BMI drops below 24.  I’m in the home stretch.  Goal weight is 4.8 lbs away.  Physics Diet says I’m 8.81 lbs away from goal, and I’m going to consider myself truly “at goal” when my AVERAGE weight is 150.  Have I mentioned that I brought my bathroom scale with me in my suitcase to help me stay on track?  It seems to be working!

A couple of my friends have taken to hanging around me at this conference just to watch the reactions of our other mutual friends, which is fun for all of us.

I’ve developed a fun response when colleagues express awe at this. I say, “if you’re impressed with my weight loss, you should take a closer look at my work!” LOL

Unable to exercise Saturday because when I was finally done with everything and in my gear I found out that all the places around closed at 8pm.  GRR.  Had a little meltdown because I REALLY wanted to exercise, and missed the elliptical in my basement, something awful.  (Unfortunately that does not fit in my suitcase. )

So I adjusted my calories some.   I am LOVING having a calorie tracker on my iPod Touch.  Combined with my little pocket scale, I can eat out and STILL stay on track.

I still managed to go to lunch (very accommodating waitress at Gordon Biersch) and have 45 ml of port wine later, and stayed WITHIN MY CALORIES!

Lunch strategy:

Explained to the waitress up front that I have lost 180 lbs and needed help constructing a salad with just tuna and veggies and she ended up bringing shredded carrots, diced cucumbers, diced tomatoes, diced asparagus, baby greens and sliced seared ahi tuna in separate bowls with balsamic vinegar on the side so I could weigh it all and stick it in my tracker. Final damage? 206 calories. And it was AMAZINGLY GOOD, and I was enjoying lunch with my friends.

After dinner party in the room strategy:

I’d budgeted calories for the 45 ml of port wine I brought, measured it, savored it, and for the rest of the night drank the herbal teas I’d brought with me, using the room’s little coffee maker to supply the hot water. I always had a treat to sip in my hand, could indulge in as many as I wanted, and had a great time laughing and sharing stories with my friends.

January 7, 2010

Countdown to goal weight… 6.8 lbs left to go!

Now that I’m at a “healthy” BMI, I have one more basic goal to reach before working on stabilization and reevaluating my needs.

Goal weight is 150 or 25% body fat, whichever comes first.  At the moment it looks like they’re going to happen pretty much simultaneously.

I’ll go by the average at PhysicsDiet.com for the “real” value, but at the moment I’m working toward getting the scale to say it, first.  I will have to go below 150 a bit in order to stabilize there.

Over the past week my % body fat has ranged between 29.9 and 27.4 – I have a DXA scan scheduled on Jan 14 and that should tell me where I really am, at that point, and how the BIA scale numbers compare.

I’ve been working with the calorie tracker on my iPod and I think I’ve got the diet cycles / energy targets pretty well worked out. Part of what has made the transition complicated is that this tracker, unlike the one on Spark People, automatically takes into account my reported exercise.  I gained weight through much of last week as a result of eating more.  So I’ve had to adjust it down a bit.  It turns out that even with my exercise schedule if I eat more than 1100 calories per day on average, I will gain weight.

The way I’m using the tracker is that when I gain weight I go on the very restrictive  “-10 lbs per month” daily calorie target I’ve set up until it comes off, again.  Once I get back to where I started I ease onto the “-9 lbs per month” target and see what happens.   As I get closer to goal I’ll ease onto less restricted calorie targets and by trial and error figure out what target range will work for me for maintenance.

Because my metabolism is so slow I bet my eventual maintenance calorie target will say I should be losing weight.  It doesn’t matter what the tracker software predicts, though,  just what the actual SCALE and BODY FAT ESTIMATES say.

P.S.  My next milestone will be in 1.2 lbs when I’ll have removed 180.

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