Fitness Camp - Day 6 and 7

I didn't journal on Friday or Saturday, so here is a general re-cap on the last two days of my week.

Friday felt easy now that my body has gotten used to exercising and eating healthy. Heather and I walked Snow Canyon again, this time hitting the petrified dunes. What amazing rock sculptures. Heather is supposed to send me the photos since I didn't have my camera with me on Friday.

We had two exercise routines on Friday that were the most fun I've ever had exercising. An instructor we hadn't seen before, Scott, came in and taught "Living Drums" and a hip-hop exercise class. The drum class was where we used exercise balls on stands and drum sticks. We moved around with different dance steps from our ball to our neighbor's balls to the left and right, keeping up various rhythms he set out for us. It was a blast. The hour went by quickly and most of us felt we could have kept going! The hip-hop class was hilarious. Most of us were terrible but we laughed at our inept moves and had fun.

On Saturday Heather, Kris, Juliet, and Trina and I all drove to Zion National Park. The park is one of three canyons in a series of natural wonders that start with Bryce Canyon and end with the Grand Canyon. The Virgin River snakes through the park and provides the water for lots of trees and foliage that is absent in most of the surrounding desert area. Coming in the fall was wonderful since we got the honor of seeing the fall colors in their glory.

We met up with the rest of our Fitness Ridge class back at the compound and went to a buffet restaurant for dinner. The dietitian went with us and helped us look at our food selections to see if we were staying within our food "budget". I actually did really well and didn't even use up my full allocation of calories for my dinner (500). I was stuffed.

I learned a lot about the physiology of exercising and food: calories, fats, carbs, and more. I just hope I can take all this back home and keep it up. I want to establish a healthier lifestyle.

Our posse decided to keep in touch and hopefully blog to encourage each other (I will set that up) as we start into the holiday eating period.

In one week I lost 6.5% body fat! I lost 6 inches and when I weighed again on Tuesday 10/30, I had lost a total of 6 pounds!

I survived!

P.S., while waiting for the shuttle to the airport on Sunday morning, I tripped on a small bag and ungraciously went flying sideways onto the cement. Now I have a scraped up elbow and leg as well as a puffy ankle. Thankfully it is only damage to the same side as the bunged up toe. I had to do something to leave lasting memories with all the others there bidding me goodbye!

Fitness camp - Day 5 (Thursday)

Today was not so bad. I saw, I hiked, I sweated, I conquered.

I had to go back to the "Stop Sign" hike due to my foot. Heather and I walked a different trail that was flatter and went along the west side of the canyon. It was nice to have the change in scenery. I didn't have to worry about my foot hitting the end of my shoe, though it really hurt to even put my foot into the shoe today. I ended up walking on the outside edge of my foot to keep the weight off my toe.

It amazes me how one toe, particularly the big toe, can impact so much. You can't really run, walking can be painful, and even sleeping means sticking your foot out of the covers and dangling your leg off the side of the bed so nothing touches your foot. Stupid toe.

My knee seemed to be o.k., but when I did "treading" this afternoon I found my knee being pretty weak by the time I hit the middle. Treading is HARD! We pick a machine: treadmill, elliptical, bike, etc., and then work on them for a few minutes getting warmed up (as if we aren't warmed up from exercising 3 to 4 hours already). Next, you go as hard as you can for 5 minutes. You go so hard you can't even talk; your heart rate is high (mine went to 170) and you're truly puffing and sweating. Then you bring it down for 5 minutes so you "recover". Then go 4 minutes as fast as you can go and 4 minutes to recover; then 3, then 2...all the way down to 30 seconds of each to finish. It was the most brutal of all workouts but felt like it was probably very effective. By about the 3 minute stretch my bad knee felt like it was a noodle. 'Course pretty much my entire body was noodlicious by the end. But the big point: I MADE IT!

I didn't die today.

Fitness Camp - Day 4 (Wednesday)

O.K., yesterday I was mistaken. I didn't die. Today I woke up dead. I can hardly move, hardly think, hardly anything.

I don't remember breakfast. I don't remember lunch or dinner either, though they are always good. I've been having a good time bonding with various ladies and we're encouraging each other to keep going. I've met Chris from the Buffalo, NY area, Mary Lou from Calgary, Juliet and Trina from Texas, and Heather from Hawaii. We seem to be congealing together as a group. There are lots of folks here that are going to stay for 2 to 8 weeks and more! There are a number of men and even some folks who don't seem like they need to lose any weight, but they love hiking and fitness in general and are zipping through the classes with ease.

Here's a typical schedule:

7:00 a.m. Breakfast
8:00 Hiking
11:30 Aquasize
12:45 Lunch
1:30 Food, exercise lecture, or cooking demo
2:30 Cardio workout
3:30 Kickboxing or pilates
4:30 Gentle stretch or yoga
5:30 Dinner
6:15 Lecture

My hike was grueling. I did the intermediate hike (they call it "moderate") and it was about 7 miles or so. The scenery was beautiful as always, but I am now part of the walking wounded. There was a section where we had to scramble down some steep, narrow passages and my knee popped. The pain was incredible. For about 10 minutes there I thought they'd have to medi-vac me out of there. Thankfully I kept walking and taking care. It slowly numbed up and the swelling helped swaddle my injured knee.

But wait! That's not all! In all the downhill scrambling, my left foot kept sliding some in my shoe and my big toe kept banging the tip of my shoe. By the end of the hike I could tell my toe was in serious danger of falling off. Sure enough, back in my room when I peeled my sock off, the toe nail was loose and I could see blood seeping out around the edges and the top. Thankfully, my beautiful pedicure hid the probable hideousness of it from the casual viewer. But I knew that serious puss-filled toe-jam was in my future if I didn't keep it clean and free of sock lint for the rest of the week.

Now I'm not sure how I'll keep up with the hiking for the next two days. I'll have to plot and scheme to figure out how to keep up with all my classes when my foot hurts so bad; oh yeah, and the knee.

They say most people "hit the wall" either Wednesday or Thursday. I think it was today. I saw a wall, hit it at a dead run and then, splat, my body slowly slithered to a lumpy mass on the floor.

Help, I've fallen, and I can't get up!

Fitness Camp - Day 3

My head hurt and my stomach was in major upheaval this morning - mostly due to the pain I think. Cathy, who is in the room next to mine, gave me a caffeine tablet that was equivalent to 1 cup of coffee. Within an hour my headache had subsided. Cool!

I thought sure I'd pass out. Today, I did the same exact hike as yesterday, and it was way harder! It has a 1000 foot elevation gain the last 2 miles, so even though the path was paved, it was hard. But I made it! 4.2 miles to the top and then back down. I was so happy I kissed the stop sign.

I did all my classes again today (if I do all the classes for the whole week, I win the "Fitness Challenge" T-Shirt).

I didn't think I'd make it, but I did...and I died.

Fitness Camp - Day 2

I woke up raring to go. We had fruit and high fiber blueberry pancakes for breakfast and then headed immediately out for our daily 2+ hour hike. On Monday's the whole group does the same hike, they call it the "Stop Sign" hike because the goal is to make it to the road at the end of the canyon that has a stop sign. The rest of the week there will be 3 choices depending on your hiking ability.

We hiked in Snow Canyon and it was spectacular scenery. I quickly ended up lagging towards the back of the pack due to repeated stops to take pictures. The rocks are ruddy red and in stately formations throughout the canyon; many rising hundreds, if not a thousand feet high. There were towers and petrified dunes that were windswept; carved into beautiful curves and lines. It was truly breathtaking.

The whole day was filled with back-to-back exercise regimes. What a day. I'm beyond exhausted. I also have a growing headache which is most likely due to caffeine withdrawals.

I had a massage at 7:00 and I hoped it would help. Unfortunately, it didn't. If this headache doesn't get better, I don't now how I can repeat this process tomorrow.

Walking the Plank - Day 1

As promised, I am blogging my journal from my stay at Fitness Ridge in St. George, Utah.

I'm nervous, yet excited. I hope I can lose 30 pounds in one week; just kidding (though it would be nice).

I woke up at 3:09 a.m. in order to catch my flight to Las Vegas. From Vegas I hopped a shuttle to St. George, about 2 hours away. I now get to say I've been in Arizona too. Highway 15 crosses over a little corner of Arizona before it continues on into Utah. So I've been in 4 states in one day: Washington, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah.

I sat next to a lady who lives in Australia. She was probably in her early 60's. Her story was pretty fascinating. She is from the U.S., but when visiting Australia on vacation, she met and fell in love with her husband and stayed on. Wow! That's love at first sight. She was on her way to visit a friend who was retired in St. George.

The Fitness Ridge facility is brand new, tidy and neat; though not large. They keep the number of guests down so that there is a good staff/guest ratio. We actually have one of the larger "classes" that they've had with a total of 32 guests. There are only 40 rooms and most folks opt to double up, though I paid extra for my own room. The decor is very nice; "organic" as the designers on TV would say, with natural woods, stucco, natural fibers and metals making up the furniture and adorning the walls. So far the staff is very friendly and I get the impression that most of them are related or close enough friends that they almost could be related.

After a light dinner of salad, vegetable pasta and a pumpkin souffle we had an orientation so we would know how it all works for the week. Following that I had a pedicure and manicure.

I hope to sleep hard tonight because it sounds like tomorrow is going to be a VERY full day staring at 7:00 a.m.

I hope I live.


Stormy Weather

I just had to share some photos from photographer Ross Fartheringham out of Everett. He managed to capture some shots of the Cathlamet and Kittitas, two Washington State ferries in the October 18th windstorm.

They are absolutely incredible. Check them out here: