Did my training take a vacation? Did I train while I was on vacation? Turns out, paradoxically, the answer to both questions is a resounding YES! I know it’s been awhile…almost a month since we left for our two week vacation in the paradise of Hawaii (we hit 3 of the islands, and we will definitely go back!). Once we got back, it was a whirlwind week of a conference and now still trying to get caught back up and ready for school to start. When we left for vacation, I was nursing some Achilles tendinitis, and had needed to modify my runs and cutback on my mileage for a couple weeks. It was frustrating (understatement), but I was still able to get in at least 3 runs each week, and keep up with the bare minimum for long runs to keep me on track for marathon training. I was worried, though. Seven weeks into marathon training is NOT the time you want to contemplate just how far you can push an aching Achilles before something snaps. I figured my vacation came at the perfect time. Mentally I needed a vacation (had for some time!). My husband and I DEFINITELY needed the time together. Just the two of us time (which doesn’t happen nearly often enough!). My Achilles needed a break. Solution: two weeks in Hawaii full of relaxation, some creative cross training, and a few runs sprinkled in the mix.
I did run while we were on vacation. I took in an amazing 7 miler along the rim of Kilauea in Volcanoes National Park. I tried an evening track workout at the Army Base where we stayed with friends that was sabotaged by poor vacation nutrition and lights on timers that left me in the pitch darkness halfway through my intervals. And I did a 10 mile race. That’s three runs in two weeks (but it was one on each of the islands we visited!). That’s not very many! 😦
The true beauty of my vacation, in the context of marathon training anyway, was the cross training opportunities – in which I completely and enthusiastically immersed myself!
Cross Training Hawaii Style #1: Hiking. We got in 26 hiking miles on the three islands combined. We hiked at Volcanoes National Park. We hiked up the slopes of Mauna Kea at 9200′ elevation in the clouds. We hiked to waterfalls…and were sometimes amazed, and sometimes disappointed (like the time we only saw a rock face because the stream that feeds the waterfall had been diverted for irrigation!). We hiked to lighthouses and along secluded beautiful beaches. We hiked along ridges with views of amazing canyons and valleys on each side. Hiking is one of my absolute favorite things to do – especially when I get to do it with John.
Cross Training Hawaii Style #2: Snorkeling. We snorkeled at Two Step on the Big Island with dolphins (amazing!). We saw beautiful fish, coral, and swam alongside sea turtles at Three Tables and Sharks Cove on Oahu. And, we were again stunned by the diversity, beauty, and magic at Tunnels and Anini Beaches on Kauai. We spent hours facedown at the water’s surface (as evidenced by John’s sunburned back!) gazing at fish, coral, urchins, sponges, dolphins, and sea turtles.
Cross Training Hawaii Style #3: Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP). This was on my “want-to-try” list. Had been for awhile. My friend Laura (who we stayed with on Oahu) took us to Pokai Beach on the west coast of Oahu, where the water is known to be calm and dolphins are known to frequent. Paddleboarding is definitely a good core workout – it took me a little while to feel comfortable on the board and master the combination of balance, stance, engaging the right muscles, and all the while being completely awed and mesmerized by the hundreds (no, I am not exaggerating!) of dolphins swimming within a few feet of me! When we realized how far from the beach we had followed the dolphins, it was also a good arm and quad workout to paddle back to shore against the wind. I could easily get hooked on SUP – but I have a feeling even on our beautiful MN lakes…nothing will compare to tropical oceans with loads of spinner dolphins!
Cross Training Hawaii Style #4: Kayaking. We kayaked with the dolphins as well, and had hoped to kayak the Wailua River on Kauai as well until Tropical Storm Flossie messed with our plans and the outfitter cancelled trips the day we were scheduled in fear of flash flooding. I definitely did NOT get my fill of kayaking!
Cross Training Hawaii Style #5: Boogie Boarding. I’m not sure that this should really make the cross training list, but it was just plain FUN!! Our friends took us to Bellows Beach on the east side of Oahu and we swam out to where the waves were cresting and rode them in. Repeat ad infinitum. The only thing that slowed me and my boogie board down that day was the Portuguese Man-O-War that managed to wrap itself around my arm. First jellyfish sting – not so much fun, but I survived – and the rest of the day was totally worth it!
Unfortunately, even after the rest and creative (not to mention fun!) cross training, my Achilles was still a little sore, but it was not AS sore…so I figure vacation had been a success. It’s been hard (VERY hard) to detox from this vacation, and even now I feel like there is still part of my brain sitting on a beach with a mai tai in hand.
We celebrated our 15th anniversary in Hawaii. My parents celebrated their 25th anniversary with a similar vacation. I remember when they returned, how they gushed about the beauty, how they were moved by visiting Pearl Harbor, their amazement of the landscapes of Kauai seen from a helicopter…my parents loved to travel. They took us kids to 48 states…and Hawaii was the 50th state I crossed off my list. I wanted nothing more than to share our excitement and anticipation while we were planning this trip with my parents. To ask them about their experiences there. To watch the video we have from our helicopter ride over Kauai like I watched their helicopter video with them when I was a kid.
I want to continue to share these things with them, but instead…I’ll do what I can to keep them close in my heart and continue to honor them in my eternal quest to make them proud of my and make a difference for others. I’ve also taken a bit of a vacation from my fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Association, but now it’s time to kick that into high gear as well. Thank you to those of you who have contributed, and for the rest of you…please consider (any amount!) the difference you can make with a donation – click here for my fundraising page! Together we CAN make a difference!
Now for the numbers:
Miles run so far in 2013: 737.59
Miles run so far in marathon training: 236.69
Fundraising total: $526.20 (goal is $2000 – please help me!)
Days until Twin Cities Marathon: 52
Thanks for coming on this journey with me. Together we can make a world of difference.