The sunny weather turned on us this morning, so basking in the sun by the pool was not going to be an option. Four of us decided to drive to Zion National Park and I am so happy we did. The mountain formations are incredible. Looking at the pictures on Google does not capture the magnitude of this amazing park.
It took a little over an hour to get there. We were ravenous by 11:00 AM. Our brown bag lunch consisted of 1 whole wheat slider bun, 1 oz portion of natural peanut butter, 1 oz portion of jam, 1 non-fat cheese stick, 3 mini carrots, 3 cucumber slices and 1 orange. It just wasn’t enough. We ate everything in the bag and nearly licked the portion cups clean to get every last morsel of peanut butter and jam. We hiked two different trails for a total of 2.5 hours or so and then did a little souvenir shopping. On the way back to the resort we were all dying of hunger and had to wait until 5:30 for dinner.
Dinner was excellent: stuffed chicken breast with brown and wild rice pilaf with craisins, broccoli medley and a slice of ‘chocolate pie’ … low fat chocolate pudding mixture with silken soya on a Post grape nuts cereal base.
All the newbies arrived today! We are now at full capacity with 75 guests. My new roommate is a lovely lady from Fort Lauderdale. I feel so sorry for the newbies. They have no idea how badly their butts will be kicked tomorrow. They look so vulnerable…but they’ll be good by Thursday!
I am in a new team this week: Go Yellow. God knows what they will do to us this week to crank it up a notch.
Mary Ann’s Adventure: Biggest Loser Ranch – Day 6 – Saying good-bye to new friends on Grauation Day!
Day 6 – 1-Week Graduation Day!
Breakfast – 7:00 AM
Hike – 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM - 6 miles on the West Canyon Trail
Pool – 11:00 – 12:00 – Pool Volley Ball
Lunch - Bean and Rice Taco with Carrot soup
Afternoon off- poolside!!
Dinner – Asian Chicken and Rice Bowl and fruit skewer with chocolate sauce
Many of Biggest Loser ‘fitness warriors’ leave us tomorrow. Saturday is graduation Day and everyone who leaves gets a huge send off. A DVD of all the week’s action is given to each person every week of their journey here. After dinner they bring in Karoke…OMG! There are a lot of wild and crazy fun people here. We laughed so hard all night. As you know I don’t sing but during a rendition of ‘Thriller’ I decided to jump up and do the moon walk, much to everyone’s surprise! I got a huge round of applause. :) Just a little out of the box action for this Gramma!
DAY 6 – Poolside, all day!
Hiking – 2 hours in a canyon and up a very steep hill. Another beautiful day and my taping definitely eased any pain in my shins.
Stretch class – 45 min
Lunch – Tomatillo Soup and a Turkey Club in Pita
Circuit Training – 45 minutes
Zumba - 45 minutes of pure fun
Pool Volleyball – 45 minutes - lots of fun
Dinner – Salmon Burger on a whole-wheat slider bun and a fruit skewer.
During the Biggest Loser Orientation the executive staff promised us that we would all leave the Fitness Program healthier. They did not promise weight loss. In order to accomplish that, they also said they would break down our personal barriers for a successful outcome. One of the returning guests, a Canadian from Ontario, told me they would break you down to tears before you leave. I did not believe her.
Today is Friday and the Biggest Loser tradition is to have a 1-hour sharing session with the guests after lunch. We were encouraged to talk about our experience and any Ah
Hah moments we may have had during our first week. Everyone had a reason why they do bad things to their body. It could be drugs, alcohol, depression or food. (Note to self: Be kind to people, you just don’t know what kind of day they have had.) Everyone was so honest and some were tearful about their personal accomplishments here. I started to well up when some of the ladies started crying when they spoke about their Ah hah moments of climbing to the top of the mountain or simply being able to have a shower without being afraid of falling down. I had to choke back tears. I wanted to share that I had come to rediscover and resurrect the 49-year-old woman who died 12 years ago with her husband. I couldn’t because I would have started bawling. Instead, I told them I loved the friendly staff and guests, the hiking and that I would be back to finish any unfinished business next year. After the meeting, I had fifteen minutes to go back to my room and get ready for the Circuit class. I walked into my room to change and just burst into tears. I shed the final tears of grief, of loneliness, of lost health and the slender woman who loved being outdoors, riding and gardening.
I’m back…only in a slightly larger version.
Day 4 is over! Thank God for small mercies.
Day 4 is OVER.
9:45- 10:45 – I pedaled 22.4 miles before lunch as well as working out on some equipment that I would describe as weapons of mass destruction. I got all tangled up in a couple of them before a trainer came to my aid. Who thought that working your abs could be so complicated?
12:00 Lunch was mushroom soup (made with chicken broth, spices, soy and mushrooms – puréed to perfection) and a turkey sandwich on a whole-wheat slider bun. They use a lot of these slider buns here.
1:15 – Cooking demo with the chef, very interesting. They only use 1 ounce of oil in their vinaigrettes to make enough dressing for 30 guests…. I’ll send recipes later.
2:30 – 3:15 – We also had water aerobics with weights for body toning – non-stop jumping jacks and running in the water and other stunts with weights.
3:30 – 4:15 – Ball works – Oh my, what those trainers can dream up to make it difficult with big balls. For a lightweight ball it seems to weigh 50 lbs when elevated over your head for what seems like forever. Not a fan of ball works. Still having flashbacks of bouncing on a ball Shannon gave me in my living room and orbiting off and hit my head on the coffee table.
4:30 – 5:15 – Treading – Another non-stop 11.7 miles during our ‘Treading” class on the bike. I was able to increase my RPM this afternoon but started to see black spots when I got off the bike. Someone else felt like up chucking. The fresh air sure feels good. I’m happy with my 34 miles of cycling today. Cardio is OK.
5:45 – 6:45 – Dinner – Stuffed peppers and faux ’Tiramisu’ (and it’s not the tiramisu you would have in any nice respectable Italian restaurant, let me assure you) *Recipes to follow.
6:15 – another sleep inducing lecture. Perhaps I should incite a riot tonight to wake everyone up
7:00 - The acupuncturist taped my legs for me. I feel like a real pro. Hopefully I can hike tomorrow. I don’t want to miss any fun!
All in all I feel stronger and the healthier than I have in years. Every class is brutal but I get through them one by one. My hip flexors still ache, back is sore and the shins are tender. Other than that I ‘m really doing quite well. It is so encouraging to have my family and friends supporting me, and the people here to experience this with. We are all cheering each other on and it really helps.
One of the gals taught me a good trick today. Hang your housecoat in the sauna so it’s nice and warm when you get out of the pool. SWEET.
Had our run started 15 minutes earlier this evening, this is what we would have run off into…
For the last couple of days it’s been hard to believe that it is January. Word on the street is January returns tomorrow .
Sharing the trail means more than sharing it with other runners, it also means sharing it with wildlife. While encounters are few and far between when running in a group, there is always the possibility. In addition to remaining calm, here are some tips from BC Conservation Officers should you find yourself in such a predicament:
- timid and will usually run away if challenged. Coyotes start posing a risk to people when they lose their timidness and become comfortable around humans – this is usually a result of direct or indirect feeding by humans.
- It is an offence to feed dangerous wildlife under the Provincial Wildlife Act.
- If concerned about a coyote encounter or about encountering aggressive coyotes, keep a deterrent handy.
- Deterrents could include: rocks, sticks, banging pots and pans, tin cans filled will rocks or pepper spray (may not be an option in an urban setting).
- If a coyote approaches a person, make yourself look as large as possible – if sitting, stand for example.
- Wave your arms and throw objects at the coyote. Use a deterrent.
- Shout at the coyote in a loud aggressive voice.
- If the coyote continues to approach don’t run or turn your back on the coyote. Continue to exaggerate the above gestures and slowly move to safety.
- Every bear encounter is unique so there are no steadfast rules which can be applied to every situation.
- If you meet a bear in the wild, try to remain calm. Never approach or chase the bear, instead face the bear without making eye contact and back away slowly. Take the same route out that you came in. Try to keep track of the bear’s location, but again, don’t challenge the bear by making eye contact.
- If the bear makes blowing or snorting noises and then charges and veers off at the last second this is likely defensive behavior so continue to back away.
- Extend your arms above your head appearing as large as you can, talk in a gruff voice, and look for a weapon such as a rock or stick. Try dropping your pack to distract the bear, but only do this if absolutely necessary because the bear could learn to pursue people for their packs.
- Climb a tree as a last resort
- The following are guidelines in the event that you do encounter a cougar:
- Stay calm and keep the cougar in view. Pick up children immediately – children frighten easily, the noise and movements they make could provoke an attack. Back away slowly, ensuring that the animal has a clear avenue of escape. Make yourself look as large as possible. Keep the cougar in front of you at all times.
- Never run or turn your back on a cougar. Sudden movement may provoke an attack.
- If a cougar shows interest or follows you, respond aggressively. Maintain eye contact with the cougar, show your teeth and make loud noise. Arm yourself with rocks or sticks as weapons. Crouch down as little as possible when bending down to pick up things off of the ground.
- If a cougar attacks, fight back. Convince the cougar you are a threat and not prey. Use anything you can as a weapon. Focus your attack on the cougar’s face and eyes.
Information source: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca
Tips for Trail Safety
Smart trail use includes adherence to some basis safety practices. Trails are shared recreation amenities and are accessed by a variety of users at the same time. Please be courteous to all users, and remember that pedestrians have the right-of-way. All trail users should stay to the right on the trail.
- Wear reflective material and carry a whistle or noisemaker.
- Own the trail. While using the trails, project alertness, confidence, and determination. Your shoulders are back, you are aware of your surroundings, and you have somewhere to go.
- Go with a buddy. Use the trails with a friend. Two or more trail users can assist each other in the event of accident or injury, and one can always seek help.
- The day is your friend. It’s better to avoid dusk and darkness.
- Use all your senses. Listen for suspicious noises. Don’t wear headphones; they impair your ability to hear someone approaching you from behind. If you sense that an area may be unsafe for you, leave. Use discretion when acknowledging strangers, and follow your intuition about unfamiliar people and areas.
- Take what you need. Carry personal identification. If you use a medication frequently, such as for diabetes or angina, take it and instructions for use with you.
- Leave valuables at home. Don’t make yourself an obvious target. If you must leave valuables in your vehicle while you are on the trails, hide them well before you arrive at the parking area; auto burglaries are all too common.
- Have someone waiting. Always let someone else know where on District trails or parklands you will be going and when you will return, and instruct him or her to call 911 if you do not return as planned.
- Be easy to find. Use marked, authorized trails only.
- Be considerate, aware of your impact on the trail and parklands, and aware of your effect on other park and trail users.
- For everyone’s safety, stay to the right side of the trail, especially when approached from ahead or behind by other trail users, and travel single file around blind curves. When several persons travel side by side, it can be difficult for other trail users to pass safely.
- In some cases, the best approach upon encountering a group of trail users approaching you is to move to the edge of the trail yourself, or off the trail if circumstances permit, stop, and let the group pass you.
- Check behind and to both sides before changing course.
- Use marked, authorized trails only. Respect trail and area closures. Most unmarked (unposted) trails have been created by other park users, tend to erode quickly because they are not well constructed, unnecessarily degrade the view and the plant and animal habitat, and are not maintained or patrolled. The authorized trail route may be a little longer, but using it gives you a little more scenery to enjoy, a little more exercise, and the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve helped preserve your parklands. “Leave no trace.”
- Stay within park boundaries. Fence lines are marked. Please respect the rights and privacy of adjacent property owners.
- Be prepared for the weather. A regional trail or park some distance from your home may have a very different climate. Adequate water supply and sun protection are advised for all outdoor activities in hot, sunny weather. Have several layers of appropriate clothing available if cold, wind, or rain may be present, especially in shady canyons or on exposed ridgetops.
- Please do not disturb or feed wild animals in the parklands. A general rule is that if a wild animal is easily approachable, it may be ill and should be left alone. Inform a park ranger or Volunteer Trail Safety Patrol member if you see an obviously sick animal.
I limped into my 6:00 Yoga class this morning with a bruised foot. I think the strain of the last few days aggravated the surgical pins in my ankle. My ankle and upper foot bones ached along with the rest of me. I was considering cancelling my hike today for fear of causing further injury.
After yoga, my foot felt a little better or else it was the camaraderie of the other guests who were trekking out like little soldiers, limping and stiff legged that ‘guilted’ me into preserving and working through the pain. I decided to go and was so happy I did. It was a beautiful 5-mile hike. The Paradise Valley area in St George, Utah is a vibrant red (and so are my new $13.99 blister resistant socks that Conny sold me). Paradise Valley is a turtle refuge…who knew turtles lived in the desert?
Our hike was followed by a pool class then followed by another delicious lunch. We had beet soup and mini whole-wheat buns with BBQ chicken ad topped with micro greens.
The 1:00 PM class was Kick Boxing. We all had a great time and enjoyed learning a few boxing moves. Sadly, that class was followed by CARDIO. We had to pedal our butts off for 30 minutes, non-stop at an increasing up hill climb. They had a photographer there taking pictures of us. I can imagine what those pictures are going to look like. Every one of us had crazy hair and red sweaty faces. Happily the cardio was followed by another round of exercises in the pool and a final stretch in the hot tub!
Dinner was a ‘taco’ salad with romaine lettuce, beans and rice with a home made salsa in a whole wheat tortilla and a house made mango sorbet.
Our dietician continues to be very boring. I left her class at 7:00 tonight…what are they going to do? Line me up at the back wall and shoot me at sunset?
I am waiting for my massage….Ahhhh. Can’t wait.
I can hardly walk today!
We did a yoga class from 6-7am, very good stretching! Like it.
We hiked 1000 vertical feet up through the gorge in the Snow Mountain Canyon Park. All up hill. It too me 2 hours to walk 5 miles. I was beyond tired, and to think I need to be able to multiply this by almost 3 to = the 13.1 half marathon! Walking on a flat surface will definitely be easier.
We got back to the ranch at 11:00, just in time for another one-hour stretch class. It actually felt good. I almost fell asleep at the end when they talk softly and have bird-chirping music!
12:00 PM – Lunch was good, as usual – Squash soup and spinach salad with blueberries and walnuts. YUMMY.
1:00 was a weight class using free weights, a big metal bar and lying on our backs on little plastic benches. The laying down part was at the end of the class and my back went into spasms (my old whip lash injury) and I had to get help to get up. I liked the weight class though.
All the instructors are amazing, fun, upbeat, encouraging and have absolutely gorgeous bodies. Everyone here is amazing! I could shoot the dietician because she comes in after supper and we have to sit and listen to her drone on for an hour when we are all so tired, Some of the guests actually fall asleep with their heads on the table.
We went from weights to treading water for an hour! I had to manage in the 5ft end of the pool but I think I have actually learned how to tread water, I have never learned how to swim, rather embarrassing but I’ve been able to fake it so far. But when the class is called for deep water treading, I had to confess. Oh well, at this point, I was so tired; ego was on the bottom of my priority list! I paddled away and finally got the hang of it after an hour of practice. This could be the beginning of a triathlon…NOT!
Last class of the day was CARDIO from Hell! OMG I thought I would die.
We had to start on the treadmill and keep increasing the speed every 30 secs and hold it at the fastest speed for 2 minutes then decrease the speed slowly back down. I think she called it interval cardio. I had my heart rate up to 149 only but I was dying. I really need to do more work in this area. I’m sure my heart rate was pushing 160 at the top the hill climb today! We all finished the class, red faced, sweaty and hobbled off to dinner.
Dinner was delish! Chicken with a turkey marinara sauce on top of a bed of spaghetti squash and other veggies. Dessert consisted of 2 chocolate dipped strawberries (91 calories) but the group I was with decided to swap out our dessert for another serving of squash (60 calories)! The waiter looked at us oddly. One lady ordered the strawberries and they were dissected and we all got 1/4 of one =24 calories. Oh dear…. this is what grown women do when surviving boot camp!
There is absolutely NO DOWN TIME except for an hour lunch. We barely have enough time to run and change for each class.
You would love it here! There are many guests who are just here to lean out, get fitter than they already are, and have a holiday. They seem to breeze through the classes. In fact, one of the fit ones (as I call ‘em) not only hiked up the 5 mile trek this morning but finished in record time and hiked 1/2 back down and back up and still beat me…I was dragging at the end of the pack today with only 4 guests behind me. There were 9 in our Orange Group!
It’s now 8:19 and I have to shower, take a couple of muscle relaxers and Advil and hit the sack. 5:30 wake up call comes quick! :
There are 72 guests here, mostly women. There are about 10 - 20 year olds, 20 or so 30 year olds and the rest are 40-50 year old women and men. There are only few 60 and older. One of our trail guides is a spry man in his mid 70′s. He hops around the big rocks like a billy goat…there is hope for me.
I haven’t got my pedometer thingy working yet. I forget to put it on for the last two hikes, however, one of the other guests said we had 22,000 steps on Monday, not including the 2 pool classes and today was 26,000 steps and something like 2400 calories burned. I need to get mine operating.
Not sure where they are making us hike tomorrow but the scenery is fantastic, the beautiful red mountains. I’ll send pics when I get home.
We are also starting a kickboxing class tomorrow. This should be interesting because I can barely lift my leg out of an exercise bike at present!