Monday, December 30, 2013

Can you believe that is ME? Hiking in Vegas. What happens in Vegas (training) will come home with me!

If you have been keeping up with my blog, you know that in the past few days, I have been doing a lot of hiking here in Las Vegas, with Marc.  And a whack load of it is UPHILL.  So, here I am, 46 years old, still closer to 300 pounds than 250 and its incredible because HILLS HAVE STOPPED PHASING ME.  Now, don't get me wrong. Marc calls me his 'Canary in a coal mine' since if the grade changes even slightly I can tell with my breathing however I no longer stop and stay 'I can't' (well, there was one time yesterday but I just wanted one day in Vegas where my butt and legs and hips weren't screaming with soreness.) I know I can.  I take my time.  I do it slowly but I do it and you know what? It does not take ma a whole lot of time to recover anymore.

I contrast this with the me who does not like to climb stairs  if avoidable, or to walk on pavement let along ankle breakers and gravel (which is way harder than I thought, especially since i am a total klutz!)

That same me, hunted for a vacation place where i could walk and hike and made it a priority every single day!  Every time Marc asked me what I wanted to do, I answered, 'well you know my priority is hiking!'

Even days after experiencing extreme soreness at night, I did not make the decision to walk or not to walk until seeing how I actually was, instead of deciding not to because I felt awful at night.

One of the most amazing things about this whole thing (and a month from now, we will be in Orlando, pre race) is the changes in my head.  Also, being here has made me  realize that it really is getting out the door that is the hardest thing.

When I was working that insane six weeks or so, there really was no way that I could have trained.  My body was falling apart as it was.  The good thing is that from doing my research and learning about endurance training, I know that Rome was neither built or destroyed in a day.

I am coming home to God only knows what , weather wise, but it is my intention to endurance walk outside whenever possible.  I will see about joining the Mac Gym for a month or maybe the other one that is cheap but only if I can do it short term.  I don't know exactly how busy I will be in the next month but I am definitely prioritizing training otherwise 1 month will turn into two and while I know I CAN finish even without finishing training, I really want to not be dead on my feet for my last two days in florida!

I just cannot believe where my willingness has gone in the last 5 or so months, since I started training on August 12.  If this is possible, maybe anything is?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Training in Vegas...Dec.31 fast approaching!

Yesterday, we went on a ten k walk.  We had plans in the afternoon and had to get it done pretty fast so we just walked down East Tropicana until we hit 5k and then turned around and came back.  I wore new socks that were 'anti blister' and new shoes and I am not sure which caused the problem but from km 7 or so I was dying.  I developed blisters  and my gait changed as I favoured the right foot.  I finished but it was not easy like the first half had been.  This tree is on the street our hotel is on.  I guess this is the extent of the Fall season in Vegas.

Smiling for the picture but dying inside from pain in my right foot!

In any case, it was a nice day weatherwise and it cemented to me that I really don't live walking where there're cars.  I like clean air...

Today we went out to the Red Rock Canyon.

I don't know if you remember this sign from the last trip 
But today we saw 

The last time we were in Las Vegas it was 120F.  We could never have gone hiking there then.  Oh. Wait.  The last time we were in Vegas was before I started training for Team Yachad at the Miami Marathon.  So, not only was it 120F, but we also would not have gone hiking, even if the weather had been like it was today. So, since walking was the purpose of the trip today, I did all sorts of research and found a route that was the right distance on our training plan for today, and not too difficult.  We drove out to the Red Rock Canyon and parked at what we thought was the right Trail head.

This was a hell walk not just a bitch walk.  The path was rocky and in places required rock climbing.  I really wanted to turn back and god only knows why we didn't.  The hike was less than 2 k but took 1.5 hours and included scrambling up the hill you see here which looks innocous enough but is actually an insane hill with bad footing a lot of rocks, dry vegetation and no handholds.

To be honest, I was terrified.  the angle was incredibly steep.  I kept seeing little holes in the ground too which just served to remind me that there were probably rattle snakes inside some of those holes.

and then there was the 2 k back to the car.  Oy.  

On the other hand, as much as I hated it, I did it.  IT WAS HARD. harder than sassafras.  Harder than anything I have ever done before.  and I did it.

the next day, we went to the hoover dam and did  the walk that goes up to lake mead.  We did not do the whole thing because we ran out of time and the damn hike was ALL uphill which on the heels of the red rock canyon's hell climb was not great for making speed.

in any event at least that had a smooth path and even though it was all uphil, at no point was there any feeling of 'if you misstep, you are going to die!'

On Shabbat we did not walk and I had some delayed onset muscle  soreness which was insanely painful last night walking around.  We were going to do the 21 k today but we were up way too late and we are going to go walking today but take it easier.  I am torn between taking advantage of my last opportunity for a 13 mile walk and not killing myself.

On the other hand, we moved our return flight to tomorrow night so theoretically we could do it tomorrow, althought without support of a hotel room. and showers and such.  ugh.

oh well, we will let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Let me preface this to say that in fact this post is not about amounts of money.  The donations I am mentioning are amazing for various reasons.  And the amounts of money they refer to range from $5 to hundreds.  I sincerely appreciate every single donation, every single note sent to me privately or publically offering moral support and every single bit of advice given to get me started or keep me going.  You all have made this journey SO special! If you aren't sure why, read the rest of my blog!

The idea for this post came to me last Sunday.  I was on my way to Toronto with a wedding cake for the wedding of friends and I got a text from Gabe Chaimovitz.  His son's Upsherin (when a jewish boy gets his hair cut at 3 years old, a tradition some people hold) Gabe, who has gorgeous curly thick hair that he had been growing for quite a while auctioned off the cutting of his hair to raise money for yachad and sponsor me in the marathon.  He accomplished the impossible by making me completely speechless.  I had no idea that he was going to do this for Yachad.  I was absolutely blown away.

Gabe and his wife Corrinne are always good friends and they are truly stellar people.  To have shared Jaker's limelight with Yachad to help us raise profile would have been enough to help me accomplish my goal of raising profile, but to also raise money just elevated this mitzvah to a level that is so incredible!  Gabe owns a business called TEGS Tools ( and I have asked him for some interesting things (mostly involving welder's glass- once for an eclipse and now for our plague bags for passover!) so give him a call if you need anything!  His customer service is second to none!

Adaliah Schweitzer offered to make me a pretty profile picture to support my blog and my fundraising for Yachad (since I had been hoping the blog would be something i could capitalize on for corporate sponsorships.)  We have not had time to actually get this together but it was so thoughtful and much appreciated.  Adaliah is a very talented photographer.  You can see her work at She takes breathtaking pictures.

Next is my friend Adrienne who while I have never met her in person, I have known for many, many years.  She gave me a donation just because I asked.  I have to say that that is a concept I never really thought about before. I often don't take action on donation requests for cash flow or other reasons sometimes even because I am just too lazy to go get my wallet out and find my credit card.  Adrienne's donation made me think about the fact that it is not about how much, its' about responding to the ask.  She actually changed my way of thinking on the topic.

My friends Jonathan and Jocelyn did something interesting too.  They sponsored me for every achievement that I made.  5k, 10 k and so on.  It was a truly inspiring way to both support me and yachad!

Then there are the Christian Ministers.  I have friends, Ray and Rosalind MacDonald.  My mom is friends with Reverent Sherif Garas.  The MacDonalds work for Leket Israel so they are also very into fundraising.  Rev. Garas' wife Magda works with my Mom in her very high special needs class in Applewood School in Toronto.  When the Garas' and the MacDonald's donated, both of the donations came with big blessings and a huge amount of interfaith appreciation. I wonder if my friends were randomly asking for support of Christian causes, if I would have even thought about sponsoring them.  Ok, maybe because if they were doing something physical like me, maybe, but still, the Garas are complete strangers to me!  And Ray and Rosalind who love Israel and Jews just the way they are, well, your generosity in sending me dollars that could also have gone to Leket, is appreciated!

And then there is Gloria Christianson.  One day, I was standing in Fortino's and the cashier was new or something and started talking to Gloria.  Somehow we got on the topic of the Marathon and she handed me $100 and said, ' I had a severely disabled child who died when he was 18.  Please take this donation because I so appreciate what you are doing!' I did think to get her a tax receipt, so I have her contact information but other than that she was a total stranger!

My daughter Ariel committed ten percent of her Bat Mitzvah money to charity.  She gave a donation to Leket Israel, and also to my Team Yachad.  I love that it was SHE who remembered that it needed to be done and prodded me til it got done (i have a credit card!)

Then this past week someone contacted me to say that they would make sure we got to $3000 but just to let them know on Dec. 31.  I don't know what happens if we make it to $3k before that, but that was kind of a leap of faith !  And it's good to know that I will hit 3k even if people wait until after January 1.  Of course hitting 3k does not mean I have to stop!  It just means I met my financial goal!

My friend Moleigh made a donation a few months ago and then asked me a question that gave me a totally new way of raising money.  She asked if a donation could be made in honour of/ or memory of someone.  This prompted me to be able to collect some donations for various things and the OU/Yachad sent out cards to the recipients once the donation was made.  If you are considering making a donation for a simcha, please consider doing so to my Yachad account.  Or, if it is after we stop collecting, to Yachad period.  They will send cards!

And to you 'anonymous' who blew me away with a $200 donation that was just completely unexpected- I can't say too much about it without giving away your identity, but I just want to say that you rock and I am currently and always have been so happy to know you for so many reasons!  Your good nature is awesome and inspiring!

And then there are all the donations that were so generously given in all sorts of amounts.  You ALL rock.  Yachad thanks you and I thank you!

OK! GOTTA GO FOR A TEN K today in this 17C weather!  PERFECT walking weather!

OH the places you will GO!

Here we are.  I am on vacation in a place where the forecast is 17 C.  The last six weeks have been a training DISASTER because I have been working so many hours. Finally when things got going better, the weather became disastrous (some years it does not snow until february!) and between snow, ice storm and extreme cold (which as we already know makes me sneeze!) I have not been able to walk outside due to the extreme sneezing situation which occurred after the Santa Shuffle.  I am very prone to tongue ulcers from sneezing (its the way my teeth hit my tongue and it hurts like CRAZY) and they don't heal FOREVER once I have them.  That 27 hour sneezing fit caused some which I was lucky to have averted a serious problem with due to oral steroids, but you can understand my fear of sneezing- lets just call it achoophobia, since there does not seem to be a scientific term...

Now you have to understand that I have been saying since the summer, 'Oh NO, I like the cold, no way in hell, I am working out on a tread mill.'  I don't however like snow and ice and the sneezing thing was totally unexpected!  I did consider working out at the Mc Master University track, but its 200 m, and the idea of going in circles make me crayzeee.  Plus its 50 bucks a month for just using the track.  You know what is most interesting about this conundrum?  That it is a problem because we don't intend to stop walking after the Miami Half.  At the Santa Shuffle I met a Lady who told me that she and her husband have already completed Half's in every province and now they are moving on to one in every state.  Personally, I think one on every continent might be ccool!

A bunch of people I know belong to what used to be Phoenix fitness, but I can't say that I really want to commit to a membership.  Especially when I don't intend to work out indoors when the weather is good.  And I doubt that I would cross train with anything in a gym either.  I think that I will figure it out as soon as we get home though, because we are about a month away!

So, we decided that since we have a week childless and we have both been working insanely that we would take a quick trip and it ended up being Vegas because with pricing and timing and known awesome walks, we got the most out of Vegas.

This is our first day in Vegas and it's Christmas Day.  We hope to meet up with Marc's cousin Marc (thus mine) and his fiance, Tanya who are coincidentally in Vegas from LA.  Otherwise all we plan to do is hike.  It's funny because both of us brought more gym clothing than anything else!

We are in a condo type hotel and we have a full kitchen so we bought groceries and will mostly eat in and take food with us.

Here are the hikes we are hoping to do (not at race pace, just for endurance)
the 13 mile driving road for the Red Hill Canyon (its paved, so not a hard hike but long.)

Around Lake Mead Area- Still unsure which hike of hundreds but thinking about the Wetlands.

Dying for a hot spring walk....

Anyways, we are working those things out now and very excited!

Today we plan on doing a ten k. Then, tonight on the strip with our santa costume!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

So Much to Catch Up ON! Blood tests (if you only knew...), Winter training and 'you wannna do what for your vacation?!?!?"

It's been around a month since I wrote, and truthfully, I have not been walking for training purposes either, because I have been working one 12 hour day after an other for a little over five weeks.

In that time, I did do the Chanukkah Hustle and the Santa Shuffle, both of which I blogged about but really, I have been so overwhelmed by the physical part of my job that it has been all I can do just to get through one day after another.

A few things that I have wanted to write about.  First, at the end of October, I went for some blood tests.  It was a check up and I told my Doc to put everything remotely needed on the list.  He was away for a bit so when he got back a month later, imagine my surprise when he said that my blood work was totally normal, I could have fallen over in shock!  The only thing that was a 'little' elevated was my triglycerides which he wants me to see a nutritionist for, not even go directly to drugs.

I laughed out loud when I heard that.  He said 'what?' I said that if he only knew how much meat I ate that he would think that my triglycerides were a freaking miracle!  At that appointment I also got results back on wearing a holter monitor for 24 hours. Totally normal.And my base heart rate is 60.

It was so not what I expected as a 46 year old very fat woman.  I thought he was going to read me the riot act about my health.  It was totally unexpected that it be normal!  Miracle of miracles, I am also coming up on three years since my bout with pancreatitis and I could not be more grateful that my blood sugars are all good.  I thought for sure I must have sustained some damage, but I guess I am good so as long as I take care of me, I should continue to be healthy.  To that end, I have booked an appointment with a nutritionist in the beginning of January and am going to ask for an eating plan that is appropriate to endurance training.  I know that losing weight would do great things for my times but it is a crazy eating trigger for me to lose weight  or even weigh myself so I hope to find a plan that will be on its own merit for supporting my training.  If that is the focus, I hope it will be enough.

So now we come to winter training. I thought through the fall that winter would be no big deal because around here we don't tend to have so much snow and I don't mind cold as long as there is no snow.  Sadly we seem to be getting socked with more snowfall in the past few days than we had in previous years until february.

And then there is that horrible sneezing fit I had after the Santa Shuffle and the fact that the Miami Marathon is in , well, MIAMI and its all adding up to a pattern that says 'get a gym membership and train there for the next forty five or so days.  So I hope to do that today or tomorrow.

And then there is the weirdness that happened yesterday when I was randomly looking for places for Marc and I to get away for a few days and all I could think about was getting back to Las Vegas so that we can hike in the Red Rock Canyon since it is cooler now than in the summer when it was 120F.  or to find anothe place to go where hiking would be the big attraction.  I would LOVE a 12 or 15 mile hike!  not at race pace, just to do it!  WEIRD WEIRD WEIRD WEIRD!