Back from My Hawaiian Adventure! (Part 1)

Hello again friends … long time no … uh, post? The last several weeks have been nothing short of insanity, and luckily, I was able to unplug, unwind, and take some time to just relax throughout the last week. But that certainly doesn’t mean that I spent my week in Hawaii sitting on my butt (although, truth be told, that is typically a big part of my beach vacations).

Last week, the boy headed to Honolulu for work for a few days, and with Valentines’ Day being last Friday and the Presidents’ Day holiday this past Monday, he invited me to join him out there for a little sand, surf and relaxation. We had both been working ourselves ragged lately, and it was a good excuse to get away from the winter that will never end (lucky for me, I flew out of D.C. about 12 hours before last Wednesday’s dumping of snow started falling).

One thing you have to know about both of us is that we are typically pretty active. I joke with him that his garage looks like a miniature REI. He’s an outdoor sports type. I’m more of a gym type, but I’ll try just about anything once. So needless to say, between the beaches, sites and fancy tropical drinks (in moderation, of course), we managed to stay pretty active. I tried a few new things. Saw some beautiful sites. Spent some time on former movie sites (we’ll get to that). And got a black eye.

So here’s Part 1 of the story:

I was informed going in that I would be learning to surf during our trip. Now, I’m typically a only as deep as my ankles kind of girl, so I was a little nervous as to how this would turn out. I was afraid I’d drown. Or get eaten by a shark. Or knock out my teeth. But I promised the boy I’d try. So I did … twice. Let’s say that while one instructor was not so great and left me unscathed (physically – emotionally may be a different story), the other was fantastic … and I came away with a story to tell.

We spent a few days in Waikiki, and apparently the gentle waves are perfect for new surfers. The boy claimed the waves were super-gentle (in fact, I think he was a little bored with them). Thus he hired pro #1 to show me what to do.

I was a little terrified of “Uncle Gil” from the start. He was this tiny man who I’m fairly sure was missing a few teeth, and kept talking about how he’d been surfing for 50 years (oh, and that he’d been in Vietnam). I’m usually the type who has to try something a few times before I get it down … and Uncle Gil took that as me not listening to him (because of course it wasn’t that he wasn’t explaining what he wanted me to do). Long story short, he yelled at me a lot, but I was able to get up a few times. I walked away thinking I was much better suited for beach sitting. And that Uncle Gil was terrifying. Desire to become a surfer? Zero.

But the boy was persistent, and once we made our way up to the North Shore a couple days later, surfing lessons were once again on my agenda. I will admit – and he knows this – I was less than thrilled with the prospect. If the waves outside of our hotel were any indication, I may be risking death. But Mike, the instructor (who was about 40 years younger than Uncle Gil – and a WHOLE lot nicer) assured us we were in good hands. So we loaded up into a van and drove to another beach not too far away to get started.

I’ll admit to being a little cranky-pants on the trip over there. I’ll also admit to perking up considerably when the girl who took us over to the site informed us that we’d be surfing on the beach that Hunger Games: Catching Fire was filmed (yes, I got a little fan girl. So what). It was a long swim out to the waves – definitely longer out than I think I’ve ever been in the ocean before – but, thankfully, the area was relatively shallow thanks to a reef (though the reef brought additional challenges: Would I break something? Would something try to eat me? Were there jellyfish?). Mike took his time finding what he called the “perfect wave” before he pushed us out – taking the time to explain what we were looking for, why it was important, and really just putting us at ease before we were thrust out into the wave. Needless to say, I started to get a little more of the why behind the how – and for me, that made a big difference. I still don’t know that I’d say I have much surfing in my future, but yes, I can see how it could be fun when you know what you’re doing. The boy claimed Mike told him I had great form, so maybe it is just a matter of practice makes perfect?

However, I did walk away from the lesson with a memory that will take a few days to go away… yeah, I got hit in the eye with the surfboard. Talk about one heck of a souvenir…
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More on my adventures coming tomorrow … now this girl’s gotta get to bed in the hopes of lessening the chances of severe jet lag…

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Back From Paradise …

Yesterday was one of my least favorite days of the year … the end of vacation. After eight amazing days of sun, sand and fun with the family, I made the seven hour drive back to reality.

It was so nice to see the family and have the time to catch up with everyone. We have been going to South Carolina with my dad’s brother and his family for 19 years now (crazy to think it’s been so long!), and it has never gotten old (though we have). Though my brothers opted out of the trip for the second year in a row, we did still have a couple extra faces this year – my cousin’s wife’s parents decided to join the party! We had a great time, the weather was almost perfect, and my cousin Julia and I continually discussed how we’d be able to find jobs as beach bums (if only such a thing existed. If you know of a way to make this happen, please let us know. Because we’re in.)

I had a lot of time to think during the trip, which, if you know anything about me, is both a good and bad thing. If you read Monday’s post, you know that I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. I’m not where I want to be in my life – in just about every facet – and I’m working through several difficult conflicts, so it was nice to have the opportunity to watch the waves, feel the sand beneath my feet, and be with my thoughts. There is something about the smells and sounds of the ocean … I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders the second I saw and heard the waves. There really is nothing more relaxing and comforting to me.

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I also had the opportunity to play my first 18 holes of golf with my dad, uncle and cousin Bryant. It was … interesting. While I have to say that I did better than I expected, I also have to admit that I played almost every single shot with a 7 iron. It was the club that I used in my lessons, and clearly I need a little practice with the other clubs. But after I tried to use the driver the first hole (and dug up half of the tee area), I figured I needed to stick with what I knew. Seriously, other than the putter, nothing came out of that bag. But at least I didn’t have the ranger yelling at me to stay on the cart path every other hole (that was my dad) and I didn’t almost lose my club in the woods when it went flying along with the ball on a shot (that was my uncle). I have to admit, seeing how bad the other three were, too, made me feel a little better about my remedial golf skills. But check it out … at least I looked the part!

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But now it’s back to reality. Taught my first two classes post-vacation this morning, and surprisingly they felt pretty good (and, also surprisingly, the scale was not my enemy this morning … not sure how that happened but I’m NOT going to argue that one). I’m planning on enjoying the rest of what is technically the last day of my vacation. Until next year…

Vacation Time is Finally Here!

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Today begins my absolute favorite week of the year – vacation time! My family has been going to North Myrtle Beach, SC for almost 20 years, and I have to say, it’s never gotten old (though we certainly have)! I’m hitting the road early, in hopes of missing as much traffic as possible, and getting to the beach around 1 p.m. or so … early enough to still hit prime sun time!

Perhaps one of the most important things about my annual beach trip is that is gives me a reason to do something I’m not so good about throughout most of the year – rest and relax. I know that my body is craving a break about now, and with workouts only as strenuous as a daily walk down the beach, I’m sure I’ll come home nice and recovered, re-energized, and ready to take on some new challenges. I’ve been feeling a little tired physically lately, and I have had so much on my mind that I’m certainly overdue for a mental break, too (running is great, but it really only goes so far in turning my brain off sometimes … and the older I get, the more I ache the next day after a nice, hard run).

For my XSport Alexandria folks, here’s who you can look forward to seeing in my absence this week (note that some of the formats will be different than you are used to, so apologies in advance):

Sunday: 9:30 Piloxing will be BodyCombat with Leah this week. Beth will be stepping in for my 10:45 Pilates class.
Wednesday: Leah will be back for Piloxing at 6:00, and instead of Pilates, you will have BodyFlow with Allison at 7:15 this week.
Thursday: Jen will be covering my 5:45 cycle class.

I’ll be back in town next Saturday evening, so I’ll be home in time for Piloxing and Pilates again on July 21. Though a word of warning … after a week of sleeping in and taking it easy, it might be kind of scary (though that may be a good thing for you)!

Just because I’m on vacation doesn’t mean I’m taking a blog break, though! You can look forward to a couple of guest posts, some inspiration, and maybe a few random thoughts or exercises throughout the week. Hopefully after nine days of family time, I’ll come up with some new ideas for upcoming posts, because I’ve found that every time I’m with the family, I’m answering questions about nutrition or exercises or something health related.

Until next time … here’s to my favorite day of the year!