Monday, January 26, 2009

Kayak Roll Session Week 2

Just another weekend spent in the warm, heated pool learning to roll, roll, roll. I'm only good for about an hour's worth of hip-snaps, then the snap leaves the hip and the paddle just plunges to the bottom - thus, no more snappy round and round. The cool part of the day yesterday was the custom kayak helmet for a pony tail. Very cool. Its the "Darrin" style and the girl in the picture is Darrin, although he doesn't have this helmet up yet. His kayaks are pretty darn cool too. Not related to the pool sessions, but kayak related -- I found a fun website for "Girls at Play." All about girlys in whitewater kayaks.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Rollin', Rollin,' Rollin'

Its that time of the year again -- winter kayak rolling practice has begun. This is the 3rd year I'm attempting to master the kayak roll. You'd think after two seasons I'd finally get it, huh? Nooooooo... not Chili. I'm ok in the controlled environment of warm, clear, water. But get me to try it in the ucky river? Barf... river water just ain't the same as pool water. I guess that's my problem. You have to practice it, and I don't care much to practice in river water which is the only choice I have, so I roll in the pool, then don't roll again until the following year in the pool. No wonder I swim! Anywho...back to the roll practices. Sam and Donna Mummert put together several sessions at the Carlisle YMCA, and the Harrisburg Canoe Club puts together several at the Cumberland Valley High School. Between the two, we'll get about 6 or so roll practice sessions in this year. Rick, of course, does perfect rolls and practices all the time. So he's the teacher most of the time and really does a nice job teaching folks the concept. Last evening was the first roll session at Carlisle. At the last session last year, Vern Graham (an expert whitewater canoe guy) of the Harrisburg Canoe club explained a C to C roll to me, and it helped me. So this year, I'm doing that roll sort of combined with the Sweep, which is what Rick taught me. And its finally working. So I'll keep practicing that the next couple weeks and maybe this year I won't swim! (a C to C roll is a two-part roll whereby the Sweep is all one movement. In reality, the sweep is likely the better roll in a whitewater situation because you have to think and act really quick if you get flipped).

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I Hate Football

There.... I said it. I hate football. No, I despise football. Yup, I'll have every football freak in America telling me I'm a sick puppy, but that's ok - it won't change my mind. They aren't afraid to show how much they love the sport, so I can admit to how much I hate it. Why do I dislike it so much? It started 23 years ago when I started commuting to work to Harrisburg and every other Friday night in the fall, I'd sit in a traffic jam with a bunch of JoePA freaks. All I wanted to do was get home from work and couldn't' because of the jam up of football fanatics heading to State College. That sucked. The disgust with the game grew more over the past few years because of TV. Sure, I could change the channel -- if I could. We live in rural PA without cable, so when the 4 channels we get have football on 3 of them (not to mention we now have Sunday night, Monday night, and I believe a couple other nights too), I'm again not a happy camper. You see, I seldom watch TV, so when I finally sit down to relax a little in front of the tube and there's nothing but football on, I'm sick and the cuss words start flying. I won't even get into the game itself and the fans. I may be crossing the line on that one. Suffice it to say, I hate football. I think I'll go ride a bike or something.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Breakin' Out The Skis

Finally! You'd think living in Pennsylvania we'd get a good bit of skiing during the winter months, eh? Not....seems our winters have left us of late - its cold, but little snow. Rick and I bought backcountry skis during an incredibly snowy winter -- I think it was 2002 or 2003 -- and we haven't used them much since. Each year, we look forward to the snow predictions and the forecasts end up fizzling out on us. Sure, we could travel to a ski resort, but we just aren't into 4 hour trips of late. The other thing I bought in 2002 was a good pair of snowshoes -- and I have YET to use them! Snowshoes require a really good snow base with all rocks/debris covered, usually about a foot of snow and we haven't seen that kind of snowfall in years. Someday, maybe, I'll get to use them someday.

In the meantime, we finally had a chance to get our skis out today. The cover was barely enough to ski on here at home, so on a whim, at 9:30 this morning we decided to head north to Crystal Lake, near Williamsport, PA. Sure enough, they had a foot of cover and the trails were awesome. We had forgotten how skate-ski friendly Crystal lake is. The trails are groomed nicely and plenty wide for the skaters. But Jill is fat and out of shape, so her skate skis stayed at home. I'm not so sure I could handle that torture anymore. So if anyone is a women's size 9 shoe, and 5'7" tall, I have a nice pair of skate skis and shoes for ya!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Fitness These Days

I’m relegated to taking the stairs for exercise. Talk about a slacker, slug, dead-wood, no-ambition type of ex-racer. BUT – look what I found are the benefits of taking stairs! So maybe all isn’t lost after all:

There are a variety of benefits to programs that encourage the use of stairways, as part of physical activity in workplaces, or other settings. These benefits may include improved morale, a sense of well-being, higher energy levels and improved team building.

Below are the measurable benefits that are indicated in research on stair use. It is highly recommended that you accumulate 30-60 minutes of moderate physical activity each day.
Stair climbing is possible in many workplaces and requires no special equipment in order to participate.

  • There is evidence to suggest that moderate intensity lifestyle activities like taking the stairs may be more successfully promoted than structured vigorous intensity exercise programs (Kerr, 2001).
  • Stair climbing can be accumulated across the course of the day, making a significant contribution to 30 minutes of daily physical activity (Kerr, 2001).
  • Stair climbing interventions typically result in a 6-15% increase in use of stairs.
  • A significantly lower risk of mortality is indicated in studies where participants climbed more than 55 flights per week. (Paffenbarger et al. 1993).
  • Stair climbing requires about 8-11kcal of energy per minute, which is high compared to other physical activities (Edwards, 1983).
  • Active Stair climbers are more fit and have a higher aerobic capacity (Ilmarinen et al, 1978).
  • Even two flights of stairs climbed per day can lead to 2.7 kg weight loss over one year (Brownell, Stunkard, and ALbaum, 1980).
  • There is a strong association between stair climbing and bone density, in post-menopausal women (Coupland et al. 1999).
  • Stair climbing programs can improve the amount of 'good cholesterol' in the blood - HDL concentrations (Wallace and Neill, 2000).
  • Stair climbing increases leg power and may be an important priority in reducing the risk of injury from falls in the elderly (Allied Dunbar Survey, 1992).
  • Because stair climbing rates are currently very low, increasing population levels of stair climbing could lead to substantial public health dividends (Kerr, 2001).
  • Because stair climbing is an activity with which we are all familiar, participants have a high level of confidence in their ability to participate in the activity (Kerr, 2001).

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Day Jaunt in the Woods

I was out-of-breath just getting ready! l It was layers upon layers to endure the 17 degree temps in Weiser State Forest at 7:30 in the morning on New Year's Day. Rick planned to meet one of the locals to do a little trail work at 7:30 (treefall everywhere, unbeknownst to us since we haven't been riding much of late). At the time, we didn't think much about the weather -- high winds, cold temps. Ahhhh.... what true outdoorspeople are made of. guess I'm not much of an outdoorsperson anymore cause it was friggin' COLD. Rick and Dale went about their tree sawing, while I headed out on foot. Not much, only about 5 or 6 miles was about all I could take, and I ended up in the van making sure my carbon footprint was visible (ran the engine to get warm). Rick was back fairly early too and we went home and spent the remainder of the day trying to get warm. I'm ready for spring.