Chasing Waterfalls and Gaining Confidence.

May 30, 2011 § 2 Comments

There are endless reasons why I appreciate living in Hawaii, but one of the most resounding pleasures is enjoying nature. It’s so simple to spontaneously decide to take an outdoor adventure – and this weekend that’s precisely what we decided to do.

Seeing a waterfall has been one of my must do items for living in Hawaii since we arrived here 6 months ago. I’ve always been fascinated with waterfalls. For a girl who grew up in flat, mountain-less Florida, waterfalls have always seemed so mysterious and magical. The long holiday weekend seemed like the perfect time for an adventure, so we set out on the Maunawili Trail in search of the Maunawili waterfall.

The hike to the waterfall consisted of a 2 mile trail – full of rainforest, slippery rocks, and little streams of flowing water.

When we first arrived at the waterfall I was completely surprised at the amount of people who were there…and the numerous people who were climbing up the adjoining cliff and diving into the freezing cold mountain water.

After about 5 minutes of being passive onlookers, Don & I both decided we needed to experience this for ourselves. Luckily we had on our bathing suits under our clothes so there was no excuse not to dive right in. Don went first of course.

He bravely dove right in.

Next was my turn. I nervously swam over to the cliff, climbed the slippery rocks & tried not to acknowledge the group of about 30 strangers that were staring at me.

And it was so exhilarating! This experience served as a great example of doing something a little out of your comfort zone while gaining confidence & a wonderful memory.

Fashionable Distractions

May 27, 2011 § 3 Comments

Spending so much time on academic endeavors leads to many  fashion daydreams, or basically me just wasting time pretend shopping on the internet. Browsing through fashion blogs and online store-fronts adds a little relief to an otherwise thesis centered day. Plus it’s a little motivating too. I like to think that upon graduating I might actually get a job that pays me well enough to afford some of my fashion fantasies.

I’ve recently become obsessed with Club Monaco. Their clothes have a simple sophisticated, yet international vibe about them. Ideally that’s how I’d like to define my sense of style.

all images from the club monaco spring & fall 2011 lookbook

In case you were wandering about my post-marathon running life, its been pretty low key. I still try to workout 5-6 days a week, but I’ve cut back on my running a lot. I’ve been sticking to 3-6 mile distances for my runs, & have ended up at around 15 miles a week this month. I wanted to give my body some time to adjust to not running every day, but it seems like the more I’ve cut back, the worse my knees feel. For instance, I did 5 miles this morning at about a 9:30 pace and for the rest of the day my right knee has been acting up pretty bad. Every time I attempt to go down stairs it stings in pain & is even a little feverish to the touch. I still enjoy running but I think my joints need a little rest so I’m not making daily runs a part of my workout routine for a while.

I did order the Barre3 DVD a week ago. I’ve heard great things about this workout, so I’m really excited to try it out and hopefully work it into my weekly regimen.

For now I’m looking forward to spending some time catching up with Don since we’ve got a 4 day weekend! Hopefully it will include some fun, blog worthy adventures 🙂

In the Meantime

May 19, 2011 § 4 Comments

I’ve been largely absent from the blogosphere lately – which I’m sure you expected from that last post – and with that, I’m proud to say that in the past few weeks I’ve made some significant progress on the little black cloud that’s been looming over my head for what feels like forever…

…the thesis. 104 pages (and counting). A small book.

And as you can see by my academic calendar, I plan on graduating this summer. It’s been a long time coming, but I feel like I’m finally ready to let go of my academic security blanket.

It’s going to take a lot more work, but I’ve become increasingly aware of all that I am missing out on by prolonging graduate school.

I want to really take advantage of my time in Hawaii, and the only way to truly be open to new experiences is to finish this goal and move on to the next challenge.

There’s a World Outside This Box

May 7, 2011 § 4 Comments

Don took this photo of a storefront in Haleiwa town last weekend while I was running the marathon. From the moment I saw this photo I couldn’t stop going back to it, studying it, really thinking about what that message meant to me.

Outside this box lives a world that is real. Stop pretending it doesn’t exist or soon nothing will.

My favorite book of all time is Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Farenheit 451 was published in 1953, decades before the internet, smartphones, and flat screen high-def TV, yet Bradbury developed a prophetic account of future reliance on technology through the main character’s wife Mildred. Mildred is an aloof character whose main occupation is her “interactive television” with which she spends most of her day “interacting” with.

After looking at this photo, over and over, I realized I could easily compare my daily life to Mildred’s.  I do usually make a point of spending at least an hour a day outside, but other than that I am completely and totally engrossed in my computer. And on top of that I live in Hawaii! One of the most picturesque, photogenic places I’ve ever lived – and I’ve spent a whole lot of the 6 months I’ve lived here staring at a computer screen.

Blogging and social networking has given me countless positive experiences. Through this blog I’ve met new people, been inspired and awed by others accomplishments, and learned to express myself in an open and honest way.

But I’ve also come to realize that beautiful, tangible, experiences and adventures are waiting in the wings while I spend countless hours in front of my handy netbook.

I’ve always sought to be genuine in everything I do. I want the my life to be constantly inspired which means that I have to be willing to admit to myself when certain hobbies, occupations etc. no longer fit with my personal goals. Which is why I’ve decided to unplug a bit more. I don’t want to completely abandon blogging, but for now I’m deciding to rein it in. I may post some adventures here and there, but I’m not going to continue to post on the everyday aspects of my life. I’m cutting back on facebook & twitter too. Since I live so far away from my family & friends social networking really does serve a valuable purpose, but I have to be honest with myself in knowing that these sites are also a huge distraction and a catalyst for procrastination and anxiety.

This blog has been a great form of self expression for me & I’m so thankful for the meaningful interactions with new readers, new friends, and the opportunity to share my life with my friends and family back home. For now though, I’m setting my sights on a few personal goals and I just want anyone who reads this blog to know that I appreciate the  motivation and support that you’ve contributed to these 8, very transitional, months of my life.

My Cheerleader

May 5, 2011 § 4 Comments

My Mom, my cheerleader.

Look at these goodies I received in the mail today from the best Mama ever. I bet you can guess which one is my favorite. I am so lucky to have such a supportive, encouraging family who have always cheered me on no matter what crazy endeavors I’ve attempted.

Talking about my supportive family reminds me of the day I decided to move away for college (only 3 hours from my hometown mind you) and how I felt so torn between leaving my family and going off to pursue something I felt passionate about. It almost seems like a joke now because I live a literal ocean away from my family and instead of a 3 hour road trip, it takes a 12 hr plane ride to get back home. My family has grown roots in Bradenton, Florida for generations. On my Mom’s side I was really the first one to truly “leave the nest” and even leaving for Orlando seemed like a huge deal. But as hard as it was for me to leave  I will never doubt that my family wants me to live my best life, and their constant reminder of that has given me the confidence to pursue things like getting my Masters degree & running a marathon.

In other news I’ve come across a few blog posts that I found really interesting & if you’re a runner, I think you might too:

Anyone come across any new bookmark worthy blogs lately?

What Next?

May 4, 2011 § 1 Comment

As predicted, two days after the marathon & I was itching out of my skin for a new goal. I all but pushed the registration button for an upcoming May 29th 1/2 marathon, and then second guessed myself, leaving a few more days to think about it. The thing I loved about marathon training was that it gave me a tangible goal to work towards. As I reflect on the experience, I’m not so sure that I’m train for another full marathon this year. I have some looming academic and professional goals that I’ve been neglecting and I think it’s time to reorient my focus a bit.

With that said, I am most certainly going to keep running. Presently, I’d like to focus on speed work, improving my diet and maybe getting a pair of Vibram 5 fingers. After 2 post-marathon rest days I completed a 5k run on base today with the intention of working on my speed & pace.

I finished in 26:40 but there was a lot of wind which made it feel pretty challenging. My speed goal for this month is to complete a 5k in 25:00. My “pie in the sky” some day goal for speed is to finish a 5k in 21:00, but for now that’s a lofty goal which I don’t anticipate meeting for months to come.

I’d also really like to start taking some strength training classes. I’ve heard so many good things about Body Pump classes but they aren’t offered at the base gym so I may have to look elsewhere to find one. I’ve also got 2 Beachbody programs, P90x and Brazil Butt Lift that I haven’t done in months so maybe I’ll work those into my new routine.

I’ve also got a killer new playlist full of new songs I downloaded for the marathon. Some of my favorite new artists: The Airborne Toxic Event, Arcade Fire, The Boxer Rebellion, Vib Gyor, Jessie J, and The Asteroids Galaxy Tour.

ps: Yes I discovered The Asteroids Galaxy Tour from that awesome Heineken commercial. I so want to go to that party.

My First Marathon

May 2, 2011 § 14 Comments

Well, the day came and passed in a blur. The process began on Saturday evening as I tried to fall asleep at 6pm in order to wake up at 2am for the 1 hour drive to the North Shore. I wanted to leave the house by 3am, giving me plenty of time to eat breakfast. Let me add that consuming 500 calories of bagel, almond butter and banana is pretty difficult to stomach first thing in the morning. The evening before my stomach was in knots. I was tossing and turning imagining the various scenarios that the next day would bring. Race morning I woke up filled with adrenaline (no real need for coffee) and and nerves.

It was a beautiful course on a country rode that included both views of mountains and shoreline.

The race was the inaugural North Shore Marathon so there were a few things that could be improved upon next time, the first issue being the starting line and corrals. There were about 600 participants, no corrals, and the starting line with the chip timer was only about 6 feet wide. Needless to say, we looked like cattle being herded, trying to fit through that tiny starting line. Once through the start I maintained a pace of about 8:30 for the first 3 miles and then realized I was going to fast to sustain a good pace so I slowed down a bit. My plan was to maintain 9-9:30 until the halfway point, slow down to 10-10:30 for a few miles and then kick up the pace again around mile 17.

At mile 6 I diverted to a public bathroom around the course route which I was worried would hurt my time, but I didn’t really have a choice in that matter.

Other than that I was feeling on top of the world up until the halfway point. I was on pace, happily running, cheering fellow runners, just feeling good. The course was an out and back so for the first 13 or so miles it was either dark or the sun was at my back.

And this is where it got ugly.

The sun was high in the sky at around 7:30, no clouds and no wind. I consumed gels at mile 6 and mile 13 and was saving my last gel for mile 20. There were water stations every 2 miles so I began to walk through every station, filling up my water bottle almost every time.

It was getting extremely hot and at one point an ambulance sped down the course. I’m not sure what happened, but my first guess is that someone had a heat stroke.

By mile 17 my pace had slowed down significantly to 10:30-11. I wanted so badly to pick up the pace so I used my last gel at mile 17. I tried so hard to convince myself to run faster but my legs felt like lead and my face was burning from the sun. Around mile 20 things got even worse. I expected that I’d get a second wind, knowing that I only had 6 miles to go. Heck I run 6 miles almost daily! But to add to the challenge there were hills! Not big hills mind you, but at this point I was just trying to maintain a pace on flat ground. I saw that first tiny hill and seriously considered throwing in the towel. All that was running through my mind was getting out of the sun and into the shade. I somehow managed to convince myself to jog to the end. I just wanted to finish.

And there it was. 4:37

You can tell by the look on my face I was not a happy camper. I crossed that finish line, got my finishers medal and burst into tears. I was exhausted, sick from the heat, and I hate to admit – disappointed. Looking back I wish I’d finished with a smile.

Finishing a marathon is a huge accomplishment, but it’s also a hard pill to swallow when you are so far off of your goal time. There were a few contributing factors that were out of my control like the heat and the course, but I ended up feeling like I could have trained harder, maintained a healthier diet and done better. With that self criticism out of the way, I am proud to have finished a marathon. It is not easy by any means. It takes mental stamina and physical capability and no matter what my time was, this was a new experience for me and I accomplished something that a few years ago, I would have never dreamed of doing.

The best part of the morning was walking a few feet from the finshline to the shoreline! What a way to cool off and conclude a race that I’ll never forget.