Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Up Down and Sideways

Well, I physically pushed myself this weekend. Did one thing I know I wouldn’t have attempted even a month or two ago. I went to Kauai to visit my friends John and Sue again, for my birthday. That isn’t the thing. The thing I did was hike the first two miles of the Kalalau trail, from the trailhead at Ke’e beach to Hanakapi’ai Beach. Now 2 miles each way doesn’t sound like much, and I’m sure it’s not much for those people, including my daughter, who hike the total 11 miles to Kalalau valley (it’s between that last little point and the big point in the distance) and back. But this isn’t your average little 2 mile walk in the park. Oh no, this baby starts at sea level and rises 1060 feet total, with a couple of ascents and descents, and with terrain ranging from dry to slurpy muddy, from rocky to root-covered. I definitely felt my lack of stair-climbing experience at the gym, because some of the trail demanded climbing rocks – lots of them. Nice for my ..umm…back of body area. Oh! And no matter what the trail is like underfoot, and what little challenges it throws at you, it meanders right along the edge of the cliffs for much of the time. This means you get some awesome views of the ocean and beaches down below, as well as up the coastline to Kalalau. It also means that you better not get dizzy or distracted too much…unless you can fly or don’t mind tumbling hundreds of feet down into, hopefully, the ocean.

Along the way you pass a few streams and waterfalls, and at the top of the first ascent you come to a really windy spot. Hold onto your hats is my best advice. And don’t start congratulating yourself yet, because there is way more, mostly up and down more, to come before you reach Hanakapia’i Beach. John had mentioned that once we got to the beach we could opt to hike another two miles up to the waterfall, but we didn’t have to decide until we got to the beach. Sue, bless her heart, announced about a mile in that she wasn’t doing that. Thank you, Sue! I was already formulating my most cheerful suggestion that they go ahead and enjoy some “alone” time while I hung out on the beach. I didn’t care how long it took them, I knew that I was going to be gathering my strength for the return hike.

Anyway, we reached the beach after about 1-1 ½ hours and I felt great! I think I only had to stop to let my heart rate come down once on the way in. Major progress!!!! I was feeling really happy and proud of myself and grateful that I was getting in such better shape and able to enjoy these kinds of activities again. Sue, being so considerate and all, had packed some fruit, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit for us. Yummy. Oh! She also saved my ass by lending me a pair of socks. I, being the non-shoe girl that I am, had worn my fave hiking/festival/all around comfy shoes, but hadn’t worn socks. I’m pretty sure I would have been singing a different tune, something on the line of “Oh my owie blisters” had it not been for those socks.

So, after a bit of time hanging out on the rocks in the shade at the beach, watching the other hikers, including this one family whose kids kept passing us on the way in, then waiting for their parents to catch up, then moving on, we decided to head back. I remember saying after the first up hill on the way back, “Wow, that was easy.” I was feeling positively giddy with my new found fitness. But not so quick, oh new shoe-wearing, hiking girl. For some reason the way back was MUCH harder. I had to take at least five mini-breaks to settle my heart. Of course all the old tapes started right up, being embarrassed that I couldn’t keep hiking without a break, wondering if John and Sue were thinking what a drag I was for slowing them down. But, they being who they are, kept letting me know that the hike was a bit strenuous even for them (not sure if that’s true or just them being nice) and telling me that I was doing great. It helped that there were a few other people who were having to take breaks and/or taking it really slow, too. I’ve since read that the way back IS a lot harder in general.

Anyways, we made it back, and even though my calves have been sore ever since, I’m proud I made it. And do really look forward to at least making it to the waterfall one day. Not sure about all the way to Kalalau though.

So Sunday while Sue was at church John and I took another bike ride. Not as long as the one to Kipu Falls last time, but long enough. Here’s me looking like a bicyclist in front of John and Sue’s house with Sue’s porch railing garden behind me. We went back roads for about an hour and I had to get off and walk once, then John wanted us to go to Menehune fish pond lookout, but when I saw the hill going down, I begged for mercy and we turned back. It’s really nice to be back on a bike again, and it’s good to have John pushing me harder than I’d go on my own. After Sue came home we ate yummy salads, with leftovers from The Blossoming Lotus from the night before. I forgot to take pics! It was totally vegan and Yummy!

Then we all tried a new sport, stand up paddleboarding. It’s basically a big surfboard that you paddle with a long paddle while standing up. Balance and no quick moves is the key. That and taking short, instead of deep, strokes when you’re standing up. If there was a “Most Time in the Water Instead of on the Board” award I think I would have won it. I fell off sideways – each side, backwards, and forwards – many times. It must have provided some good entertainment for folks on the beach. I finally got the hang of it though, as did John and Sue. Of course John got it immediately, and he was cruising along back and forth between Sue and I, giving us pointers. Show Off. Anyway, fun stuff.

After that we went to Duke’s again for salad bar. I had that in my mind because of last time. Sue pointed out that since it was my birthday we could get a free piece of Hula Pie. Now, Sue had been pushing the desserts the night before, but John and I were too virtuous (and full) to take the bait. But, we didn’t want to disappoint her two nights in a row, well, at least I didn’t, so we let the waiter bring it. It was really huge, and I didn’t want her to get a stomach ache, so I helped her, just a little. John helped her more, I’m sure. Despite that benevolent gesture, the next day on my REAL birthday, I weighed 175.2 pounds. Not the straight 175 that was my goal, but close enough that I’ll take it. I can’t blame it on Sue’s pushing that Hula Pie, though I’d like to. I think I can more credit the hike and her lending me her socks.

Last night my daughter took me out to a fave Italian place and we each had Caesar salad and shared a delicious fish and capers entree. Another yummy meal. Not to mention the delish lychee martini. Now I have to stop going out to eat for a while and get back to my plan. I want the 2 pounds per week weight loss again. Don’t think I’ll have that this week. But, I have enjoyed the good food and company the past few weeks. Life is such a trade off sometimes. So for the next 6-7 weeks, till I go visit my sons and see Carlos I’m going to pretty much stick to my plan.

Oh my gosh! I forgot to mention what I did last Friday!!! Went to see Barack and Michelle Obama when they flew in for a week’s vacation. It was wonderful seeing them, so full of optimism and love. I sure hope he wins the presidency and makes some changes. Reminds me of the Kennedys and how hopeful people were at that time. Okay, that’s the end of this missive. Hope everyone is happy, healthy, and enjoying life. Aloha

Wednesday Weigh-in Update: 176.6. Even though I was down to 175.2 on Monday, I'm back to 176.6 today. No loss, no gain for the week. As I said, back to my program.


Michelle @ Diary of an Aspiring Loser said...

Wow! I can't believe how flat your stomach is in that bike picture!! You look so incredible in that picture!! Well, I can believe knowing how hard you've been working. You are just incredible. I am so impressed!! And that hike sounds challenging as all hell. Good for you for facing it and having fun. You are just blowing me away with your progress. Great weekend!!

Cyndi said...

Hi Kristy...I enjoy reading about your new adventures and amazing progress! What strikes me the most in reading yours and other blogs, is how wonderfully rewarding it is to be able to do all these things and take on new challenges that just wouldn't have been attempted before. This is what I look forward to the most!

The 'mental' progress is just as important as the number progress - if not more important. It's good that you immediately recognized those 'old tapes' running through your mind - and you kept going anyway! Good for you!