Back from My Hawaiian Adventure (Part 2)!

Let me first apologize for omitting one major point in Part 1 of my Hawaii recap … we definitely saw sea turtles while we were surfing on the North Shore. How I missed this, I’m not quite sure, because I was pretty excited about it (thanks to the boy for, 1. noticing that I missed one of the highlights of my surfing experience, and 2. reading my blog). They were pretty cool.

So, while yesterday was about surfing, today is about some of the other ways we kept ourselves active in paradise. We were fortunate in that we stayed at a resort with both running trails and a pretty nice (definitely above hotel standard) gym. We took advantage of both once in the three days we were in the North Shore.

As I mentioned yesterday, the weather was warm the entire trip, but overcast and rainy for all but the first two days (and the few hours we were out surfing with instructor Mike). We woke up on Saturday to overcast skies and drizzle, and figured it was a good time to check out one of the trails along the resort. It was pretty cool to run through the forest, next to the ocean. I wouldn’t say we were exactly pushing ourselves – enough to raise our heart rates and get a little sweaty (not a surprise, based on the temperature and humidity) – but there were so many beautiful things to see along the trail that we had to stop a few times just to take it all in. There was something between a drizzle and a light rain falling during most of the run, but it was actually really nice. I’m the type who is sweating within about three seconds, and is easily drained once the temperature gets above 70 degrees, so the additional cool from the rain was welcome. I will say, though, being accustomed to running on a treadmill … running trails is TOUGH! We had to maneuver around trees, fallen coconuts, and yes, even horse “presents,” as we trekked through the sand. The instability of the ground definitely made it a lot harder, and my lower legs were feeling it a little the next day (or maybe it was just because at one point I slightly twisted my ankle on a rock).

One ugly afternoon we decided to hit the gym. It was one of our less active days – we drove a bit farther up north to check out the scenery and some of the local shops (and discovered an amazing Mexican restaurant) and took a nap, but little else – so we figured we had better do a little something. It was getting close to the end of the trip, and I think we both were at the point that we were starting to miss our regular workout routines. And maybe feeling a little guilty?

Other than the surfing, running and gymming, we also did a ton of walking. Between walking to dinner or shopping in Waikiki, walking around the sites at Pearl Harbor (there was actually a lot more to see than I had realized – ships, submarines, planes, and museums explaining all of them…), and walking around to see some of the local sites, we definitely logged several miles each day.

Overall, the trip was amazing – and proved that just because you are on vacation (in paradise, when the snow is falling at home) doesn’t mean you have an excuse to be inactive and eat or drink whatever you want (though, admittedly, we did have some great food and drinks … probably why we put some form of physical activity on our list of priorities). But, just like it’s always great to get away, it’s always great to get back to routine, too. Back to home sweet home and the normal grind!

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…

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…

Travel Tips that Help Me Stay Fit (Guest Post)

Today’s post is courtesy of Mike over at Manning’s Musings – and it’s very fitting, as I’m on vacation myself this week! Enjoy, and remember that just because you are out of your normal routine doesn’t mean that you have an excuse to give up on fitness for the length of your trip – it’s an opportunity to find new options!

Travels Tips that Help Me Stay Fit

When I first began to travel, I was very discouraged that hotels did not have exactly what I needed for my fitness routine. At times, I wished that I could take my equipment with me. As I thought about this, I realized that I could bring certain items with me. Make sure to do some research beforehand in order to book a hotel that has the right fitness amenities for you. On a recent trip to San Francisco I was able to book a hotel like this by first using a travel reviews site in order to scan all the hotels in San Francisco to see which ones have the right amenities for me. In addition to this, I like to run and I have found it beneficial to ask a hotel representative if there are trails or sidewalks that are available to use. Preparing like this has really helped keep me fit while on business.

I love my smart phone for it is so valuable to me. There are terrific applications that I can download that are extremely beneficial to me. As I am running, there are applications that I can use that document how far I have gone and how fast I was going. In addition to this, it can note how many calories I have used. Furthermore, there are travel applications that I can download that give me beneficial information in terms of picking the best area in which to stay.

As a fitness enthusiast who loves to run, it is great to see a number of fellow travelers are beginning to run on local streets and trails. After being on a plane for a number of hours, I have found that running can be a great way to reduce stress on my body. Furthermore, as I run in the morning, it helps me deal with potential business stress as well as gives me opportunities to meet and socialize with local runners. While I do not have time to site see on some occasions, running enables me to see certain sites of the location in which I am staying.

It is a fact that many business travelers, including myself, have a lot of stress to deal with. This can include a business meeting, establishing new work relationships and so forth. Here are some tips I have found beneficial. As I stated earlier, running is a great way to get rid of stress for me. Another stress reducer is walking. I try to walk around the airport terminal and in various concourses. It keeps the blood circulating and keeps me occupied. While on the airplane or in my hotel room, I try to bring a fascinating book or magazine to read. This gives me pleasure and I have something to look forward to.

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!

Vacation Time!

Today starts my absolute favorite day of the year – the annual week (okay, it’s technically 9 days) at the beach with the family! It got me thinking about what I love most about this week, and I think there are three things: the company, the beach itself, and the fact that this is the one week in the entire year that I let myself completely rest, decompress and fully recover.

I know I’ve touched on the concept of rest in the past, but it’s not exactly something I’ve excelled in (it’s kind of a forced – an I know I have to take one day a week off kind of thing). In fact, the thought of taking more than one day in a row off from the gym practically gives me hives. But I do know it’s good for me, and this week is all about rest. I’ll be sitting in my beach chair, book in hand, for somewhere between 6-8 hours a day, and loving every second of it. The most strenuous exercise I plan on partaking in is a long walk along the coast … or wrestling the beach chairs/coolers/bags/whatever else I end up stuck carrying down from the condo down to the beach.

That said, I know vacation is supposed to be all about relaxation, but I have a couple of goals as I hit the road this week:

  • Keep up the nutrition end of the bargain. My family been taking this trip for 18 years. I know we’ll eat out every night – which means I have to be conscious of what I’m consuming during the day. Not to mention think about what I’m ordering at dinner each night (and keeping my fingers crossed that I can pull off the impossible – talking the family out of this particularly horrendous seafood buffet they insist on going to despite its outrageous cost and food that doesn’t even taste good, most of which is fried … but I digress).
  • Educate mom and dad a little on the food front. Here’s the thing – I think they do try, but my dad assumes that “low fat” means good for you (it certainly does not), and my mom is an “I don’t miss it if I don’t see it” type … but my dad will buy her food he knows she likes (and is trying to avoid). So I’m predicting a few chats about label reading, sugar, protein and portion control in my future.
  • RELAX! My full-time job has been kicking my butt the last few weeks (I swear, I don’t think I’ve been as busy as I have been lately in my nearly three years with the company – I earned this vacation!) I train hard. I teach five classes a week (and the occasional extra class here and there). I’m usually ready to collapse by the time Friday rolls around. My body needs a break – and I’m pretty sure my mind, my soul and my sanity need it, too.

So, though I’m planning on spending as much time as possible on the beach (practicing safe sun, naturally … though mom and dad would beg to differ), I am still planning on doing some blogging while I’m gone, so stay tuned for some inspiration, exercises and ideas still to come while I relax and rejeuvenate!