Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Last Two Days

Sorry that there hasn't been much time for blogging - even mini posts. The last 24 hours have been so great, though, that I knew I had to throw another one up here now that I have a bit of a chance.

To begin with, Sam from Biggest Loser season 9 was here on Friday. He's a trainer at the Malibu location now, and he taught our last class yesterday - circuit training. It was an amazing class. First of all, it was the last class on a Friday, and word had gotten around that it would be killer, so attendance was low. That meant that we got more individual attention. Also, the energy in the room was at such a high level that I really pushed myself to do more than I expected to.

I started out on a treadmill, with my buddy John on the machine to my left. Well, for some reason, his machine was picking up a reading from my heart-rate monitor. At first we just laughed about it, but then when we were running sprints, he started calling out my heart rate to me and encouraging me to get it even higher. Then, one of our trainers - Annamarie - got onto the treadmill to my right. She said, "I dare you to do your next sprint at 6mph." Well, that's what I'd done my last sprint at, so I said, "Forget that! 6.5!" "Let's make it 7," she said. "Deal." So then I'm running a two minute sprint at 7mph with John calling out my heart rate on one side and Annamarie encouraging on my right, not to mention Sam pacing back and forth behind the treadmills being all kinds of motivational.

While we were on the weightlifting equipment, Annamarie asked if that was the fastest I'd ever run on a treadmill. It wasn't. Last week I hit 8mph for 15 seconds. "Good," she said. "Your last 15 seconds today I want you to do it again."

For the last sprint, Sam divided us into two groups. Group one sprinted while group two surrounded them and cheered for them, then we traded places. When it was my turn on the treadmill, my buddy Jim was right at my shoulder shouting "Come on D! You've got this! Take it up a little higher!" I sprinted at a 7.5, waiting for the last 15 seconds, but with 30 seconds left to go, Jim said, "Let me see an 8, D!" So I did. It was a great class, and a very clear demonstration of the difference that a support group can make.

Then, this morning, we ran a 5K. It was my first one, and it was great! At the starting line, Sam's cousin and teammate - Koli - gave me a high five as we headed out. I'd decided to jog as far as I could, then walk for a while, then pick the jog back up. Well, I never needed to walk, which surprised me very much. I probably knew 30-40 of the 600 participants, so there was this nearly constant bubble of support and encouragement. Towards the end, I realized that I'd either passed, or been passed by all of my people, and I was running in a group of strangers. I started to get sad about that - that I was about to accomplish this amazing thing, and no-one would be there to see me do it. That was when my friend Jan came running back toward me. She'd been the first resort guest to finish and was coming back to run others in. "It's time to sprint, Denice!" she shouted, and ran me all the way to the finish line. When I got there tons of the resort staff where there shouting my name and waiting to give me high fives - as well as Koli, who was the first to high five me when I started the race, and the last to high five me when I finished it.

I forgot to check my time, but I'm pretty sure it fell somewhere between 35 and 40 minutes.

My plan had been to walk back to the resort after I finished the race, but as I headed out, I thought about how much it had meant to have Jan run me in, and I knew I was making the wrong choice. I went and found Mom, who was nearly to the point where Jan had picked me up, and soon we'd run her in, beating her previous 5K time dramatically.

It was really, really, really great!

Anyway, we have to go get some rocks (it's a Mom thing), but I wanted to share all of that with ya'll. Pictures to come later.

Denice (daughter)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Day in the Life - 3

I just finished lunch. I just finished eating lunch (sloppy joes and salad - I skipped the soup) and in my last post I left off after lunch. If you are reading this, you should feel grateful. I woke up an hour early to spend time in the gym before our 6 a.m. stretch class, and now that I have a bite of free time, I'm using it to blog instead of nap. So - you're welcome. :)

After lunch we get a choice. We can go to a lecture, gym class, or do any other activity of our choosing - as long as it is really an ACTIVE-ity.

The afternoon lectures have been about the role of calories in weight loss, emotional eating, ingredients and cooking, weekly review, and rest and relaxation. That last one sounds good - but it was really just a live infomercial for the spa. Lame. Mom and I went to all the lectures our first week, so these last few weeks we haven't taken that option much. Mom still goes to all the cooking demos, though, and we go to the weekly review meeting each week, too. This week, as departing guests, we'll have a few new lectures to attend that will help us prepare to take what we've learned back home. I'm excited for those. (And not only for an extra hour spent sitting.)

Gym class is designed to break up the monotony of our schedule here. Day in and day out, it's basically the same thing over and over. (The director likes to compare life at the Ridge to the movie Groundhog's Day.) So, after lunch, they throw in something random to mix it up a little. The only gym classes I've participated in have been going to a nearby park to play kickball and tennis. Although, in 25 minutes we're dancing for today's gym class, about which I'm very excited.

On day's that I don't opt for a lecture or gym class, which account for about half the days I've been here, I'll work out in the gym, ride a street strider, or go for a bike ride. Mom usually works out in the pool. She likes to laugh at the group of ladies who consistently spend their gym class in the pool. While she's busy treading water or swimming laps, they all sit around straddling pool noodles and chat.

After gym class come the BAM BAM BAM classes. They're not really called that, but that's what I call them, because it's three classes right in a row. BAM BAM BAM! There's one at 2:30, 3:30, and 4:30.

One of these classes is held in the pool, like deep water suspension, H2O circuit, pool volleyball or water cardio.

One class takes place in the gym, like cardio intervals, mountain (resistance training), the dreaded treading, or my favorite class - circuit training.

The third class of the day is in the aerobics room, like total body toning, core class, ball works (with those giant fitness balls), kickboxing, and zumba.

The three groups rotate between the three classes. Most days we try to stick to the schedule, but sometimes Mom and I mix it up a little bit. For example, when Mom hurt her leg she'd often skip the aerobics room class and do the pool class twice, and every Friday when we play pool volleyball, I either do double zumba or double circuit training (because I have never gotten over the fear of volleyball that I developed in the fifth grade when Brad Perkins nicknamed me the statue of liberty.)

Anyway, that's the end of our workout day. I'll pop back in later to tell you how we spend our evenings.

In the mean time, I have eight minutes to nap before I go dance.

Denice (daughter)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Day in the Life - 2

Mom and I are playing hookie right now. We're supposed to be playing pool volleyball, but instead she's taking a shower, and I'm blogging. :)

So, I think I left off with breakfast. After we finish eating, we fill our camelbacks with water, grab a piece of fruit (apple, orange, or banana) and a high protein snack (12 almonds or a hard-boiled egg) and wait for our hiking guides to show up. We're placed in vans based on our pace, and sent out to hike. The vans leave at eight and return between ten forty and eleven. I've already written a lot about the hikes, so I'm going to move on.

After the hikes we have an 11:15 class. All guests at the resort are divided into three groups that rotate schedules - either orange, yellow, or purple. After the hike - one lucky group gets to go to a stretch class, and the other two groups can choose between pool or gym activities. As I understand it, everyone used to get a choice between stretch, pool, or gym for the 11:15 class, but the stretch class was getting overrun, so they put that class on a strict rotation.

Mom and I don't spend much of the mornings together, because we're in different hiking groups, and then for the 11:15 class, she usually chooses the pool and I go to the gym. Even on stretch days, one or the other of us will often opt for another class. I think this place is perfect for Mom and I, because she gets to spend a lot of time in the pool, and I get to spend a lot of time in the mountains.

Lunch comes next, between 12:15 and 12:45. Lunch always starts with a soup course, then a main dish. My first week I was crazy about the soups, but I've started to get tired of them. I think the chef uses the same base to start them, and it's gotten a little old. The main courses are almost always good, though, and on the rare day that I don't want what's being offered, we always have a choice of a tuna sandwich, or hummus and pita - both of which are excellent.

I suppose I'll stop there for now, as water volleyball should be over and it's about time for lunch. More to come later.

Denice (daughter)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Dreading Treading

Nearly across the board, Fitness Ridge guests call Treading the hardest class of the week. For this class you choose any piece of aerobics equipment (tread mill, elyptical, spin bike, recumbent bike, recumbent stepper, etc.) and go as fast as you can for five minutes, then spend five minutes at a brisk 'active recovery' pace. Then you repeat, but this time only four minutes, then three, then two, then one (sometimes with a few extra ones thrown in at the end, time permitting.)

Our first week, when we finished Treading, I was discouraged because I hadn't been able to maintain my pace. Mom cried and said she wanted to go home.

Our second week, we were both injured and had to do Treading on the recumbent stepper, which is kind of a cop out machine - often used for people in physical therapy.

Yesterday was our third Treading class. We both started the day feeling strong and anticipating a good showing. The bad news is - Treading was scheduled as the last class of the day. By the time we'd both finished our penultimate classes (I in aerobics and Mom in the pool), we were both rather fatigued. I was sad. All week I'd been looking forward to blowing Treading out of the water, and now it was show time and I had nothing left to give.

"Five minutes," I told myself. "I'll run the first five minutes, and if I have to walk the rest - so be it."

It wasn't.

I ran the first five minutes with ease - and Mom, in her matching lucky T-shirt, ran hers beside me. I smiled through the four minutes, turned on my power playlist and powered through the three minutes, and barely noticed the two minutes come and go. The whole time, Mom kept trotting along at my right, as though she could go all day. Instead of one minute - our trainer said we'd be doing a minute and a half. I decided to sprint it. I switched my iPod to my emergency backup power song (Go Go Go by The 88) and I went, went, went. Mom was sprinting right along with me.

It wasn't the fastest I've run since I got here. It wasn't the longest I've run, either. But, it was the proudest I've been - of both of us. Mom's been wanting to get pictures of us out in front of the Biggest Loser Resort sign - and I've been putting it off. But this was the moment, this moment of endorphin glow and sweaty green T-shirts.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mom's Pictures

This is Mom's hiking group at Johnson's Arch.

This hike is called Chuckwalla (sp?) which means 'fat, fat, lizard' in .... some language.

Mom's the weird Egyptian duck creature on the far left.

And one more with her group, for good measure. If you want more details on any of these, you'll have to ask Mom. I'd ask her myself, but she's at a cooking demo and I have 13 minutes to get my shoes back on my feet and my tail back into the gym.

Denice (daughter)

A Day in the Life -1

I decided to start posting how our days run, to give ya'll a better idea of what we're doing (and also because our days are rather similar in and out, so there isn't much else to tell.) It'll probably take a few posts to get through a day, so be prepared for installments.

Here it goes.

At 6 a.m. there's an optional class. It's a stretch class called Yogalates, which starts out as a simple stretch on Mondays and works its way up to full on yoga by Friday. Mom and I went every day, except Friday, for the first week. We still get up early to go work out on most days (though some days we opt for the extra sleep instead) but mix it up between going to Yogalates and working independently in the gym.

Breakfast is at 7. We get a pretty wide variety of meals throughout the week. We've had sausage-egg muffins, hot cereals, fritatas, almond butter and jelly sandwiches, and peach muffins, to name a few. We also get a plate of fresh fruit each morning. For the first week, every morning I woke up and said, "I hope we get waffles for breakfast today." Then Mom would laugh at me. Well, the first Sunday, we had waffles. Now every morning I wake up and say, "I hope we get donuts for breakfast today." This morning another guest pointed out that I should be careful what I wish for. If we did get donuts, they'd probably be baked whole-grain donuts with tofu filling.

Anyhow, I need to go get changed for my next class. One post down and I've only made it through breakfast.

Denice (daughter)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Picture Day - part two

So, this will pretty much be all pictures of me, because Marms hasn't told me which pictures she wants me to post, yet. (In all fairness, I haven't asked her yet, either.)

This is my new hiking group toward the beginning of our Wednesday morning hike - Saddle. Saddle has a reputation for being the hardest hike that the resort offers. It lived up to the reputation.

This is at the top of saddle. Way back in the background you can see some buildings. That's where we started walking. It was all an uphill scramble over rocks and boulders.

This is the beginning of our Thursday hike - Wallstreet. You'll note that the Kinesio tape has made its appearance now. When she taped me up, the acupuncturist also told me not to take any Ibuprofen before the hikes. I only followed that advice for one day - this day. We spent nearly two hours trudging through deep, dry sand, and by the end my knee hurt so much that I wanted to cry. That's how you know this picture was taken at the beginning of the hike: I'm still smiling.

This was the view from where our van dropped us off on our Friday hike (yay, Friday! Back on the painkillers!) The hike was Camelback. In the middle of that mountain range you can see a mountain with two rock formations on the top of it. That was our destination.

Here you can see a cluster of my daring hiking buddies perched atop the rock formation (or camel's hump, if you wish) on the left side of the previous picture. Alas, my courage failed me and I stayed at the bottom of the formation.

See, here I am at the bottom, taking pictures of the people brave enough to climb to the top. (I'm the one nearest the formation at the forefront of the photo.)

And, just for fun, here I am with Mom, enjoying a delicious lunch (tostadas, I believe) out on the deck by the pool.