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!

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.

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%.
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.

October 4, 2009

WW Yakking on the Middle Moose (Class III)

Filed under: sports,travel — origamifreak @ 11:58 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Water level pretty low on Saturday (3.5 ft).  Did it in a big ole Dagger that I hated ‘cuz it was a biyatch to maneuver.  But it was very buoyant and stable and I never flipped or swam.  Out of the 6 of us students, 1 other made it through without getting wet.  1 made it with a single combat roll.  Two swam multiple times, and one swam so many times and got beat up so bad he walked the rest of the way out.

He opted not to paddle on Sunday – one of his fingers was so bruised and swollen I suspect it may be broken.  He also cut his lip on his boat, which bled alarmingly spectacularly.  He was the oldest student (and person) on the trip (56).  I was the second-oldest (43).

We saw a Fisher during one of the calm sections of river.  It came down the bank to get a better look at us.  That was very cool.  It was much more curious than afraid – so much so I wondered at first if it were rabid.  But the instructor from NH said he thought it just wasn’t used to seeing people.  He speculated that it was sizing him up to decide whether or not to eat him.  🙂

Higher on Sunday (4 ft).  Tried it in a 4Fun – the boat vacated by the guy who got beat up on Saturday.  Yikes.  Much more challenging.  But also much more maneuverable. Most everyone else was coming out of their boats too, and it was so bad by the time we passed House Rock, that the instructors said we were done for the day and we carried the boats up to the road.  (One student lost a paddle that we never recovered, and only one didn’t swim at all).  I swam half of House Rock after getting stuck in a nasty narrow hole that flipped me as I was exiting it.  I was the first one to go down, and I think seeing me bouncing around like a rag doll between big rocks freaked out the instructors because after that they positioned themselves with ropes to catch the rest of us as we washed down outside our boats.  😛

And then the two creek-boating instructors did the dam at Fowlersville, which is just plain sick (IV+).

The playboating instructor decided to give it a pass, and I don’t blame him.

Overall fun and I am DEFINITELY interested in doing more stuff like that!  What a rush.  My HR monitor registered over 190 bpm at times, both days.  Apparently I burned over 800 calories in 3 hours on Saturday.  That’s what I call an efficient cardio workout.

At the private debriefings tonight the instructors told me my enthusiasm is great, but maybe I should dial it back a little, since I don’t seem to have enough fear instinct to keep me from wanting to do things that are above my level.  (Are we surprised?  Um, no.  But point taken!)

September 9, 2009

New BMI = 31.45

Filed under: food,health,travel — origamifreak @ 1:50 am
Tags: ,

Went on a nice 47 mile round-trip ride with Lisa and Steve from King’s Lynn to Hunstanton by the seaside yesterday.  Pictures and route forthcoming when Steve has a chance to upload/enter them.  🙂

Some new milestones this morning:

  • I’ve lost another 5% (10 down, 6 to go)
  • I’ve removed 40% of my starting weight (getting on toward being half the woman I used to be)
  • I’ve officially won my contest with Vic, so she’ll have to pay for the bloody marys in January (she dropped out for legit personal reasons a while ago, but she still owes me at least ONE victory bloody mary!  LOL)

Next milestone in 0.2 lbs when I’ll have removed 135 lbs.  And in 0.8 lbs I’ll win that contest with my cousin Nick, and he’ll owe me a nice dinner in November.  Hehe.

Today is my last day here in the UK.  I’m flying at 1pm to Philadelphia, and then from there to Syracuse.  I better go see if those boarding passes printed out…


September 6, 2009

Ride to the Western Hemisphere

Filed under: sports,transportation,travel — origamifreak @ 5:42 pm
Tags: , ,

Given that the weather forecast was rain for all day tomorrow, we scrapped the camping plans and spent 2.5 hrs biking to the Prime Meridian and back.  Here’s the route (28 miles).

The bike I rented really IS a sweet, light ride…

Here are Lisa and Steve after they recovered from thinking I was going to get run over by the cars on the road where you had to stand to take the pictures…

More pictures here.

August 26, 2009

New BMI = 32.98

Filed under: food,health,travel — origamifreak @ 7:29 am
Tags: , ,

Woo-hoo!  I’m officially THROUGH that nasty 220 plateau.

A BUNCH of milestones hit today:

  • 80 gone since I started tracking my food at Spark People in March
  • Another net 5% removed (projected for 8/21 so I’m almost a week late – see comment about plateaus, above) 9 down, 6 to go!  This is the best estimate I have for marking where I am in the process in terms of actual effort and difficulty.
  • I’ve lost 125 lbs since I started
  • My BMI is under 33.  When it gets under 30 I’ll no longer be obese, just overweight!

Next milestone in 0.7 lbs when I get under 210.

I credit preparation and determination for this one.


I brought 4 protein bars with me yesterday to the ribbon-cutting ceremony and boy, did I ever USE them!  They prevented me from eating the sweet starchy things available in the morning with the coffee, from eating the chips, creamy dressing, and cookie in my box lunch, and ESPECIALLY from eating the pepperoni and cheese and ranch dressing with veggies in the afternoon.  (I had ONE square of cheese and I counted it.)


I only had water to drink, even though there was good wine available (I was afraid of the carbs in the wine, but especially of the disinhibition it might encourage toward eating the pepperoni and cheeses).  We were gone so long that I missed spinning class, so when I got home I did an elliptical session.

July 19, 2009

Kayaking 9.75 miles on Lamoka Lake

Filed under: food,health,travel — origamifreak @ 9:50 pm

Today was my friend Ron’s birthday, so we had tea at Suzanne’s restaurant to celebrate

tea blowout

and then went kayaking on Lamoka Lake.


In the end it turned out that we paddled about 9 and 3/4 miles.  Which is more than I’ve ever gone in a yak, either by arms alone, or with my legs using the Hobie.

July 12, 2009

Yak expeditions

Filed under: transportation,travel — origamifreak @ 6:46 pm
Tags: , , ,

My neighbor Ron and I took our kayaks to the link that connects Cayuga Lake to the Erie Canal.  It’s near a bird refuge and we paddled around there for an hour and a half.

Cruise 1 (3.3 miles)
209 cal
1:30:14 min
79 bpm avg
110 bpm max
60% fat cal


Then he had to get back to have dinner with some neighbors and I took my kayak alone for half an hour on seneca lake which had pretty lively waves due to the wind.  It was challenging and sometimes the waves broke into the boat, but it was fun all the same.

Cruise 2
(1.65 miles)
108 cal
29:22 min
93 bpm avg
120 bpm max
60% fat cal

I was pleased to see that the straps I’d bought yesterday worked well and transporting both boats was successful after we worked out some of the kinks.  It’s neat to have a rack and be able to drive these boats to other places for exploring.  You know, once you pay the initial $$, kayaking is actually a pretty inexpensive hobby…


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