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.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ready for week Three!

Like getting three wishes or the third ones the charm this is our third week and I am excited for it! They talk around here about hitting a wall during your third week... having an emotional breakdown or getting an injury, but I've already done that! In fact my emotional breakdown was during the 1st week! and my injury was during the 2nd! So here I am fit and strong and ready to go! The scenery is beautiful and the food is interesting and varied. I know what to expect and what is expected of me. I am looking forward to the hikes and the cardio. I Love the pool classes! Send me your good vibes and pray for me. This is my week, I can feel it and I am going to hit it hard! I appreciate all of your support!

Three - It's my lucky number :O)

Kim (mom)

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I just finished a two-and-a-half hour cardio blast class and was so excited that I'd have time to catch a shower before Mom got back from her hike - but alas, housekeeping is cleaning my bathroom. I'm grateful that I don't have to clean in myself, but I guess I'll be going to stretch class all sweaty. Bleh.

Mom came and started chatting - so I'll never finish this post. Sorry.

Denice (daughter)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Week Two

Fitness Ridge Lesson #2 - The second week hurts more than the first week.

Mom's been to see both the acupuncturist and the chiropractor and is still aching. I've been soaking in the hot tub, elevating, icing, medicating, and I even went to get my joints kinesio-taped. The result - I'm still in pain, but I also feel like a character out of a science fiction movie.

See this:

Think this:
Denice (daughter)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A day of rest

Yesterday I could barely stand or walk, and today was about the same. After church we came back to the room and I elevated my sore knee and dropped ice on my knee and ankles. After a sedentary day, I'm feeling a lot better and am really excited for another day tomorrow. We've had the dinner with all the new guests (almost all are only staying for one week) and now we're only one episode of Castle away from going to bed.

Also, we weighed in today. I'm not one for throwing numbers around (Mom probably will, though) :) but I will say that neither of us would have fallen below the yellow line if we were on The Biggest Loser.

It's been a really good day.

Denice (daughter)

Picture Day!

This was my hike on Wednesday, with the three girls that gave me the nickname Alpha. This hike was called Fern Gully, and has been my favorite of the week.

Here's Mom and her merry little band. I think this hike was Three Ravines and they made it through the first ravine, which surpassed all expectations. See Mom for more details.

Me at the stop sign.

Mom and our friend Jennifer at the stop sign.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Half Day!!

So, it's 6:22 Saturday morning, and today we only work until 12:00! That's the best news ever!

Yesterday was the achiest day yet, for both Mom and me. We both started the day on the same hike. It's Fitness Ridge's signature hike, and everyone's supposed to do it every week. It's called Stop Sign, because you hike up a mountain to .... yes, a stop sign. You'd think it would be a little anticlimactic, but honestly, when I turned the corner and saw the 'stop sign ahead' sign, the sign could have said 'In five minutes you'll meet an angel princess who will be your new best friend and take you on a year-long cruise of the world and buy you a new wardrobe and introduce you to the man of your dreams.' and I wouldn't have been happier.

The hike was paved the whole way, and I think that made it a lot harder on my joints - especially in my feet and ankles. Also, the last portion is all incline. On the way up I was listening to an audio book about North Korea on my iPod. Just as the trail was getting steep, my book was describing the conditions of a work camp where 3-5 men starved to death every day and had to sleep 10 to a blanket on concrete floors until that moment came. I decided that it wasn't exactly the driving pick-me-up that I needed, so I switched over to some peppy music. After I got my picture at the top (possibly the only picture of me standing under a stop sign that I'll ever be proud of) I started back down the mountain. I was so happy and the music was so peppy that I danced my first 10 minutes down the mountain.

I passed Mom a few minutes later. She hit the top about 30 minutes after I did. She's hiking around this place defying anyone who tells her that she probably won't make it all the way up this week. She's contrary like that. And, she dragged the whole hiking 101 group up the mountain with her.

Anyway, because of the severity of the hike, we both shuffled around for the rest of the day.

I have to go get dressed for breakfast and another hike, but I want to throw out one more thing. I remembered that I hate volleyball. I forgot that it was because I'm actually afraid of volleyball. I had a minor freak out yesterday when they had us playing volleyball in the pool and have officially gotten permission to go to another class anytime we have pool volleyball on the schedule. They get a lot of guests who skip the hikes because of fear or stay out of the deep end because of fear. I wonder if I'm the first guest who's had to skip the 'fun', easy class because of fear.

I hope we get waffles for breakfast. :)

Denice (daughter)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Jet Lag

They say that Wednesdays are weepy - but Thursday is supposed to be 'Happy Thursday'. My body must still be running on Korea time - because my Weepy Wednesday sure came a day late.

That's all.

Denice (daughter)

Today I hit my wall.

I KILLED the hike! It was an incline on a fairly packed trail with some rocks we had to watch out for but apparently this is my power hiking environment! Two of the women stayed with me because they couldn't let the "old" lady out perform them and the three of us made it to the end of the hike. The hike coordinator had only expected our group to make it 1/2 way. Our trail leader gave my pace credit for getting us all the way in. It was exhilarating and exhausting!

After lunch we attended a cardio class called "treading". We picked our poison: treadmill, elliptical, or reclining bicycle and then we went at it as hard as we could for 5 minutes followed by a 5 minute active recovery period. Then a 4 minute hard interval followed by 4 minute recovery, 3 minute, 2 minute, 1 minute and then we repeated the 1 minute a couple of times. It was the hardest thing I have had to do. I was on the treadmill. I increased it higher then I have run before and I just kept running and when it was all over I was done. Not with the class, not with the day, I was done with it all! I looked at Denice and told her I wanted to go home! And then I burst into tears. The trainer came over and said you were amazing, you ran the whole thing. What? I wasn't supposed to run the whole thing? Well yes, if you can do it, you should do it but come to find out the other women my size and my age start out walking on the treadmills...

Today I hit my wall, Denice is a great roommate she talked to me about patience and posted a quote about growth, lots of hugs, swimming came next and that was good. There have been tears today but I am better and stronger and today I did some rather amazing things and so I guess I will stay a little bit longer. I am missing a lot of you a whole bunch.

Kim (mom)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

An Honest Mistake

I keep waking up to this smell and with a little embarrassment I climb in the shower to freshen up before I head to class. I've been showering in the evenings and just assumed I was sweating through the nights. Come to find out it is Denice's new grapefruit scented lotion. oops. :oD

Kim (mom)

Weepy Wednesday

I have 15 minutes until lunch, so I'm throwing down another mini blog. I think this will probably have to be my style while I'm here, though they say we'll have more free time next week.

They have a list of nicknames for the days of the week here and Wednesday is called ... actually, you already know what it's called. If you don't, glance up to the title of this entry. They say it's the worst day of the week and that if you can get past it, then everything will be great after that. Well, I hope I'm not jinxing myself here, because I'm only halfway through the workout day - but if this is the worst it gets then nooooo problem! I've had the best morning ever! I'm barely stiff or sore at all, too.

We started off the morning with a 6 a.m. yogalates class (stretching) had breakfast, then left on our hikes. Mom and I hike in different groups, but we started in the same general area today - and the scenery was unbelievable. I have to apologize for the lack of pictures. I promise to post some on Sunday when I have more time. Anyway - my hiking group killed it. Our guide said there was no way we'd have time to make it to the end of the trail, but three of us did. I was right with her the whole time and my hiking group gave me a nickname. I'm Alpha. After we got back and dumped about a 3/4 cup of orange sand out of each sock Mom headed to a deep water suspension class (water treading) and I did cardio intervals - and killed it again.

So, the day's not over, but so far, so stupendous!

Denice (daughter)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sunchoke Soup

So, I only have a snippet of time before I'm off to a cardio intervals class. We're both hurtin' a lot today, but still getting by (so far).

Yesterday at lunch we had sunchoke soup. It was really tasty (as everything has been so far. I feel like a regular epicurean.) Anyway, I asked one of the servers what a sunchoke is. He said he wasn't sure, but he'd check with the chef. The answer he brought back is that a sunchoke is closely related to artichokes, and it comes from the Jerusalem area.

Last night I was all jet lagged and awake at 2:30 a.m. so I looked up sunchokes online to see a picture of them. What I learned is that they are neither related to artichokes, nor from Jerusalem. They are in the daisy family (you eat the root) and are native to North America. To the chef's credit - the name sunchoke is rather new. They used to be called Jerusalem artichokes. Why the new name? I'll leave you to wonder on that one. I have to put my trainers back on now and head out.

Denice (daughter)