Workout Recaps-May 25th-June 2nd

I actually have workouts to post about! So exciting!

Saturday, May 25th

3 Mile Run

So this was my first run since the Make Tracks 5k and it was a total slog. Humidity was at 78% so that made running not too much fun. Humidity is honestly worse than heat in my opinion. It just makes the air feel so thick and heavy. I did walk quite a bit on the second mile because I had to go to the bathroom and I had a good chunk of distance to cover before I got to the next one, plus there was the most adorable little girl who wanted to have a nice little chat. So I slowed down more to talk with her. Also, I didn’t get out quite as early as I had wanted to (story of my life I swear), so that didn’t help the humidity levels either.

Tuesday, May 28th

2 Mile Run

I had originally planned to do three miles, but time just wasn’t on my side so I settled for two. I left work later than planned and wound up sitting in a mess of traffic after making a stop by my parent’s house to drop off some paperwork. Not my best time, but the first mile was relatively all uphills and I was working on staying in threshold or aerobic range with my heart rate. Plus, I stopped to pick up a few pieces of trash along the route.

I had originally also planned to run on Thursday, but my car was done at the body shop, so I picked that up and actually made dinner at home for once.

Saturday, June 1st

3 Mile Run

I kicked June off in a good fashion, which you will see about in just a minute! I headed out and did three miles after waiting for the pest company guy to stop by and treat the house. Honestly, one of the best investments we’ve made because we rarely have issues with spiders, mice, or other pests anymore. But as a result, it only got warmer and warmer on my run. I started strong and definitely was fading toward the end, but I was also on a stretch that didn’t provide much shade and the humidity was climbing and the sun was blazing. I’m not too upset with my efforts, because it’s going to take time to build back up to where I had gotten and I know this even though I am constantly frustrated with it.

Sunday, June 2nd

8.1 Mile Bike Ride

First bike ride of the year, finally! I had taken the bikes to get serviced and it’s been raining and I haven’t had my car for a while so I didn’t have my bike rack to go riding. Plus, a lot of the Katy trail is flooded right now, so it would be hard to get a consistent ride in on it. But now that I have my car back and my bike is ready to go, I’ll be trying to ride on Sundays and Wednesdays! It felt good to get out there, although we had quite the headwind on the out portion and it didn’t feel like much of a tailwind on the way back. We did go down to see the floodwaters that cover a portion of this trail, which kind of sucked because it would have been nice to have a longer ride. But we had things to do, so just this little short eight miler it was!

Since my sister is getting married this year, I’m not training for anything other than the wedding, lol! But also, on a more serious note, after seeing my mom go through her bypass surgery, I really want to make an effort to shed some weight and get healthier this year. So that leads me to these next photos, which are kind of scary for me to put out here in the blog-o-sphere. But I recently got the BodyBoss workout plan and have decided it’s time to kick it into gear. So here are my beginning photos (eek!) and I will post new photos that I’ll take on July 1st and hopefully we will all see some changes! I don’t have my starting stats on hand at the moment, but I will try to update next weeks workout recap with those for you if you are interested!

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Oahu Vacation Part 4

Check out my vacation posts 1, 2, & 3 for more activities and ideas. I will do one more post where I will outline what we did on what day, costs associated, and places that we ate at for my final wrap up!

Another fun thing that we did was the Atlantis Submarine tour. It was really neat to dive down in a little sub to just over 100 feet and see all the fish and things that they are working on regrowing coral with. There was a plane, a boat, and several various structures that had been gifted or built in an attempt to grow new coral pieces to make homes for the sea life that use them. A few quick notes on these pictures: We were so deep that everything just looks really blue since all the light filters out at various depths and I took these shots with my iPhone camera through a portal window that was about as big as my face.

First things first though, we had to take a large boat out past the coral breakers to get to the submarine. It’s neat because you can see the sub come up, and we also got to see some dolphins playing in the wake left by the boat. You actually board the sub by crossing a walkway from the boat to the sub, while floating in the middle of the ocean!

 

A ship that the island of Oahu bought and sank
Fish!
One of the many turtles that were cruising around the coral beds
This is a plane that they had bought and sunk and if you look really closely, you can see the outline of a white tipped reef shark hanging out under the wing.
This structure was one of many that had been donated by Japan (I believe) in an attempt to regrow coral on the floor of the ocean.

Another epic thing we did was snorkel at Hanauma Bay! I didn’t get the chance to snorkel last time I was in Hawaii, but I did when we went to Mexico and really enjoyed it, so I was bound and determined to do it in Oahu where I was 100% certain that it would be much better than my previous experience. I was really excited to go, even though it was windy and the water was a little on the chilly side. We got up super early so we could make the drive and park in the parking lot, and wound up not having to pay for the parking OR the entry fee into the park. We did rent masks and snorkels and paid the extra $4 for the new mouthpiece. I did bring my GoPro’s on this trip, but some lady jammed her oversized suitcase in the bin with my camera bag and it accidentally turned my GoPro’s on so the batteries were dead and I stupidly did not check them the night before.  So no awesome underwater pictures or video (such a rookie mistake I know!).

I had hoped to see a sea turtle while we were there, but it turns out they don’t really come to the bay too often, at least according to the employee I spoke with. If finding turtles is really something you want to do, I would ask around to some of the locals and see where they recommend! Hanauma Bay coral has experienced some bleaching due to many different things, and touching it can also cause it to die off, so it’s important to follow the rules and try your best to avoid touching the coral and using the appropriate sunscreens.

Sunrise over the bay
Panorama of the sunrise
I borrowed this photo of the bay from the blog Answering Oliver

And lastly, one of the last big adventures we went on was deep sea fishing!

It was something we all wanted to do, however, in hindsight, we probably should have skipped it this go around because the water was just SO rough while we were out there that every single one of us except for one person got sick. I actually spent the entire 7 hours we were out puking. Which was most just bile and water because I hadn’t eaten anything. I did take some natural Dramamine, but it didn’t really do any good. And then I couldn’t stomach the thought of trying to get down the regular stuff that I had brought along. All in all, though, several people caught fish, and I think for the most part everyone would give it another try. I booked through Sportfish Hawaii and the boat we had was called Playin’ Hooky. The weirdest part of the whole seasickness thing was that I figured I would be out for the rest of the day, but once we got back into the harbor and then on the dock, I felt perfectly fine! It was so strange. I will say that the dehydration from that little puking rally plagued me for the rest of the trip.

Skyline leaving the harbor. You could actually see planes taking off at one point.
It doesn’t look that rough, but those waves were brutal
Mahi Mahi
We managed to catch six mahi in total.
And we saw a sea turtle when we got back to the harbor and docked!
Our boat and Captain Jim!

*Please note that any links within this post are NOT affiliate links. I received no compensation or discounts for any of the places I’ve linked to or talked about in this blog post. Links are merely for your own information and convenience! Thank you for reading!

Oahu Vacation Part 3

See parts 1 and 2!

This post will be about our time at Kualoa Ranch, where we spent a large portion of the day.

When deciding what to do for our time in Oahu, we decided to hit up Kualoa Ranch, which turned out to be about 15 minutes from our rental on the island! Matt and I had gone when we came to Oahu for our honeymoon, but this time around we did different activities, and it was so fun to experience it all with friends.

We chose to do a trio of activities because choosing those makes it a little less expensive, plus you got to have a buffet lunch. We started with the Jungle Jeep cruise, which took us through some movie sites, past some historic markers, and up toward the top of the mountains.

Mountain Range that you could see from every part of the ranch!
Tiki’s of the four Hawaiian Gods-Ku, Kane, Lono, and Kanaloa
Needs no caption!
Seriously, no caption needed.
So beautiful!
It’s not the greatest photo, but we were kind of cruising right by it on the jungle jeep tour, but a pig’s head on a fence post signified the entrance to a new area.
Recreation of a traditional Hawaiian Royalty area.
Mokolii, or Chinamans hat
Fun Fact-We took a picture just like this in this exact spot 13 years ago when we were here for our honeymoon!

After our Jungle Jeep cruise, we went out on the Catamaran Tour, which started first with a flat top boat tour of their ancient Hawaiian fish pond and then out into the Kaneohe Bay.

Hawaiian fish pond
Catamaran cruising around Kaneohe Bay

I didn’t take a ton of pictures during this time because I was terrified of dropping my phone into the water, lol!

After the boat tour, we stopped for lunch. They had a nice little spread of salad, a few different types of meat and a couple of sides, including a chili made with beef that they raise on the ranch. Unfortunately, none of us got any pictures of this because we were too busy defending our table from a particularly aggressive chicken that was roaming the area! It would flap up onto the table tops and literally steal the food right off your fork. One of the only downfalls of the tour.

Once we finished up with lunch and watched the safety video, we headed out on our ATV tour. Our guide was excellent and took a ton of pictures for us, but I won’t inundate you with all of them. It was hard to believe how good he was considering he had only been on the job for a few weeks. The ATV tour takes you through a few more movie sites, and you get the opportunity to get up close with some of the props and see some of the cattle that they have on the ranch. Who are very used to the traffic, and don’t really seemed bothered by the humans zipping through the pastures on motorized vehicles.

Stopping by one of the movie sites. We stopped by a couple others and did a hilarious video with our guide.
I swear I’m having a nice time.
Obligatory awkward ocean in the background selfie.
One of the best views of the ocean, could it be any more gorgeous?

Overall, I really enjoyed the various tours that we did. If/when we ever go back, I’d like to do the ziplining and hang out on the Secret Beach that they have. They have a variety of different tour packages and some of them don’t involve much effort on your part if you don’t want to be super active on your vacation and just prefer to relax while you tour the area. I definitely recommend checking them out!

*Please note that any links within this post are NOT affiliate links. I received no compensation or discounts for any of the places I’ve linked to or talked about in this blog post. Links are merely for your own information and convenience! Thank you for reading!

Make Tracks Through the Zoo Race Recap

So Sunday I ran the St. Louis Zoo’s Make Tracks Through the Zoo 5k. This was the second year that you actually got to run through the Zoo, which is nice because the keepers get the animals out a little earlier than normal and you get to see several of them as you pass by their enclosures on your way to the finish line. Here’s my recap from the event!

 

I did run a little bit before this race, but I didn’t really train for it or anything like that. But I went into the whole thing with an open mind and no real goals other than to just finish. The weather was about the same as last year’s race, so that wasn’t too much of a factor, although it was humid as hell out for only being 66° out. I walked quite a bit more than I normally would, mostly because I hadn’t trained or been running much and also because I’ve been trying to be a bit more conscious of my heart while running. I spend a lot of time in the second highest HR zone, and keeping your heart rate so high all the time or spending too much time in the highest heart zones isn’t really beneficial. So I’d walk on most of the uphills and keep an eye on my heart rate. When I felt like it had dropped back down to a more comfortable level, I’d start running again.

 

 

You can tell from my splits that I ran the entire first mile, probably going out a little too fast, but then walked quite a bit in the second mile, which is where most of the hills happened. I took a few walk breaks in the third mile, but there were fewer uphills and that’s when we entered the Zoo, so it was easier to keep motivated. Plus, there was a woman who was running with her friend and she was so supportive that I just kind of hung around them for a bit and soaked up her positive energy. Much better than the mom who did nothing but scold her child for the entirety of the race. Maybe the kid could have had a better, more positive attitude if she wasn’t being told how much of a brat she was being for an hour?

But all in all, it was a good race day. I didn’t have the parking issues this year like I had last year, which I will attribute partly to the weather possibly scaring off some of the participants and partly due to the fact that I got up and left well over an hour earlier this year than last year, as I was anticipating the parking issues. Since the Zoo changed the route to go through instead of around, the race has been selling out and last year, even though I got there an hour before the race start, I still wound up being late to the start line and starting well after the race had begun because I had to park at least .5 if not more miles away and haul ass to the starting area. It was an issue I had never before experienced with this particular race, but I learned my lesson and now leave quite a bit earlier. I’m pretty happy with how this race turned out for me, and I’m not feeling bad about my paces and how much I had to walk. I’m already looking forward to next years race and improving on my times!

 

Oahu Vacation Part 2

Vacation part 2!* (See part 1 here)

Oahu is one of the best islands to go to if you want to experience a lot of different stuff without having to island hop. I like to think of it as a good starter island if you had to pick one to go to. It’s one of the most populated of the island chain, but you can still find some spots that aren’t super packed with tourist. Over my next couple of posts, I will go over some of the things that we did while we were on our trip.

Kahuku Farms Tour

This was something new to us that we didn’t see or do last time we visited, and it’s something I highly recommend you do if you are looking for something fun and cost-effective. The cost was a little over $30 dollars a person and included a farm fruit tasting at the end of the tour.

Kahuku Farms is home to both commercial and organic farm-to-table operations. You get to ride around the farm, looking at several of their different fields and listen as your tour guide explains all the different processes they go through to grow good, uniform “pretty” fruits and vegetables for commercial resale. It was nice to see and hear someone explaining why they farm and do the things they do, in order to keep costs lower for us, the consumers. I thought our tour guide was great and very informative, and you could tell he really had a passion for the farm.

They have several flower beds and fruit trees around their property because, in addition to growing fruit and vegetables, they also produce honey on the farm. We got a small bottle after our tour was over and I’m ready to order more online because it is such good honey!

Kahuku Farms Tour

There is also a cafe on the farm, where they only serve foods produced on the farm. Everything is organic, fresh, and seasonal. I think they said they are one of the only farms on Hawaii to grow and use their own Acai berries.

Hydroponic Lettuce Beds
Acai Berry Plants

We drove through their commercial papaya groves and saw their apple banana trees, which I did not realize that bananas grew kind of upside down and that you only get one production of bananas off a tree in it’s life time.

Papaya Trees
Farm Views

Before the tour ended, we visited the cacao tree grove and were able to pick a few cacao pods to take back to the cafe with us to try. Cacao nibs are very popular right now in smoothie bowls and they are super high in antioxidants, so that makes them pretty good for you, if you like the taste!

More views of the farm
Cacao Pods
Cacao pods can be either red/yellow or green

Once the tour around the farm ended, we headed back up to the cafe, where our guide cut open one of the cacao pods and let everyone try a bean out of it. The white outer layer is very tart-sweet, like a Sweet tart candy (pretty obvious description yeah?) and you can just kind of suck on the outer layer before biting into it to get to the nib. I personally didn’t care for the inside part because I found the nibs to be very bitter tasting and I’m definitely a fan of sweet over that. But other people in our group really liked it, but they are also big dark chocolate fans and I’m not so that might have played a part in it, too.

Inside a cacao pod. Each of the white pieces is a bean or nib

To wrap up our tour we have our fresh fruit tasting, which had several different citrus fruits and papaya in it, as well as lilikoi fruit and apple banana. You could also purchase drinks and food at the cafe. I enjoyed almost all the fruits, and everyone in my group that had a banana thought they were pretty awesome (for reference, I’m weirdly allergic to bananas, so I don’t eat them). I also had one of their Lilikoi Coolers, which had lilikoi syrup, basil, lemon, and club soda in it.

Farm fresh

It was a great tour, and it only took a few hours at most, so it’s something that you could schedule around lunchtime and still have plenty of time left to do and see other stuff in the North Shore area.

The North Shore

Another thing we did was drive up to the North Shore to see some of the really big waves and watch the kite surfers. You can see in the pictures that it was a pretty gloomy day, and we watched the rain come in directly from the ocean. It was pretty funny because it looked like it was just going to be a massive downpour-type storm, but it rained for about 8 minutes then stopped. Which was pretty much the theme for any time it decided to rain. One thing to note is that the northern side of the island tends to be wetter than the southern side, so if it’s raining at the North Shore, it’s probably not along Waikiki. So if your goal is tons of beach time, I’d look for a place to stay on the southern portion of Oahu.

Kite Surfer

The North Shore is also where the big wave competitions are held, specifically Pipeline. And you don’t really want to swim in these waters unless you’re planning on surfing because even though the waves don’t look too huge in these photos, the water is pretty rough here. We actually watched one of the kite surfers have a pretty hard wipe out and even saw a rescue truck head toward the beach. We think they managed to get back up, but the angle wasn’t the greatest for us to watch too much. We didn’t explore the North Shore area very much, which did make me a little sad, but I have several places I’d like to visit for when I go back, so there’s always something to look forward to!

North Shore waves
Waves on waves

*Please note that any links within this post are NOT affiliate links. I received no compensation or discounts for any of the places I’ve linked to or talked about in this blog post. Links are merely for your own information and convenience! Thank you for reading!

Oahu Vacation Part 1

So, I promised some vacation posts! And here they are…

Towards the end of 2017, a few of our friends were talking about going to Hawaii for vacation. Matt and I had been wanting to go back, since that’s where we went for our honeymoon, so we decided to join. In the end, it was myself and Matt, as well as two other couples who wound up going. After doing some research, we found the easiest way for us to stay was to rent a house instead of staying at a hotel. Which lead to lots and lots of Airbnb and VBRO listings being shared through our group messages. We originally booked a four bedroom house with a pool, that was closer to Waikiki, but after one couple decided to not go (in the beginning there were eight of us), we were able to get our deposit back and we found a nice three bedroom/three bathroom house right off the beach closer to the North Shore. All we had to do was walk out the back door and down the little stretch of yard and we were on the sand.

View from our rental house

But let’s back up a little bit and talk about getting to Oahu! We flew on American Airlines, and since Matt and I had made that trek before, we saved up and sprung for first class seats. It was something we always said we would do, since the flight times can be up to 8+ hours when you’re traveling from the Midwest. However, once we landed in Dallas for our connecting flight, we found out that I had been bumped from my first class seat, and was now going to be sitting in premium economy.  So while we were both a little angry, and I was sad that I didn’t get to have the first class experience on the longest flight on the way there, we did get the ticket difference made up (after an email to AA customer service). If you want to vacation in Hawaii, I would at the very least spring for the premium economy seats as they are much more roomy and comfortable than flying in regular economy. I know that may make me sound like a bit of a snob, but with premium economy, you have a little bigger seat, more elbow room, and I was able to completely stretch my legs out without banging my knees on the seat back in front of me. I did get to fly first class on the way back, so that was nice. Also, once the flight attendants on board found out what had happened, they were very attentive and did quite a bit to make up for the inconvenience of the downgrade.

Upon landing in Oahu, I had wanted to do something special for our friends since this was their first time visiting Hawaii. I found a service online that had someone greet you at your gate with a fresh flower lei and answer any questions that you might have. Since we weren’t traveling with a vacation package or staying at a hotel, we opted to have this done. The service I used was LeiGreeting.com and the service was fantastic. You give them your flight number, the day and time you are expected to arrive and choose which types of lei’s you want. I had a couple of changes and it was so easy and quick to relay those via email with their customer service.  Definitely something to look into if you are traveling on your own and want the complete Hawaii experience! Our friends loved it and the lei’s stayed fresh for our entire trip. Before I left I hung both mine and Matt’s outside our rental in a tree. I read that it’s part of the tradition to let the flowers go back to nature, and it is a practice of good Aloha.

Another thing we did while there was rent a car through Enterprise. Since there were six of us and we each had a suitcase, we opted for a large SUV. We drove a little over 500 miles over the course of our vacation, only put in one tank of gas at the end of the trip and the rental of a brand new Suburban was only around $400 for the whole week we were there. Just a side note about Hawaii traffic-rush hour is real there, and even though something is only 20 miles away, it can take every bit of an hour to get there, so always take that into account when planning things. For the most part, we stuck together, but Matt and I did utilize Uber while we were there and two out of our three trips were in electric cars. Lyft and Uber were both very accessible on the island, and Oahu does have a great bus system that goes all around the island, and bus passes are super cheap, too. They also had bike share options in more populated, touristy areas.

Now on to the important part of this post-lodging!

Like I said, we decided to rent a house through Airbnb, which tallied out to around $1000 a couple, which was much cheaper than hotel rooms for each of us. Plus we had access to a full size fridge and kitchen set up, plus our own little stretch of beach. Technically all beaches in Hawaii are considered public places, but since where we were was more residential than commercial, there wasn’t ever very many people on our beach. Our house was owned by a super nice couple, and they actually have several properties available for rent. The name of the properties is Tiki Moon Villas, which I linked to the exact house you see below!

Our house from the beach

The house was great! Very clean, plenty of space, a full kitchen, everyone had their own bathroom, and it had a washer and dryer. They also provided wifi, small amenities like beach towels, dishes, etc, as well as beach toys. We had a private drive to park in so we didn’t have to worry about parking on the street. There were a couple of grocery shops within a few miles of the house and we were literally right across the street from the Polynesian Cultural Center, so we walked over there a few times for dinner and some shopping. Now for some notes- this house did not have air conditioning, but with the ceiling fans and the windows open, I never felt the need for it. We went during the beginning of March, which is just towards the end of big wave season, and while we were there, there were wind advisories in place. So it was pretty windy on the North side of the island. Also the water is a bit rougher here than on the Waikiki side of the island, but we still got out and swam a bit and it wasn’t too bad. We even got to see a few turtles swimming by! Laie is home to Brigham Young’s Hawaii campus, and is actually a dry town, so there isn’t any alcohol sold at the local grocery store (but there was a Long’s Drugs just a few miles up the road in the next town) and there also aren’t any coffee shops in the immediate area. None of these things really had any effect on our trip, other than the fact that the grocery store and several other places weren’t open on Sunday. Also, like I mentioned earlier, even though Waikiki was “only” about 30 miles away, it took 45-60 minutes to get there with traffic and speed limits.

Beach views

All in all, it was a great place to stay, especially with a group of friends. I think that anything that could be considered a potential issue, really isn’t that hard to overcome with proper planning and a little research. Since this post is already getting a little on the lengthy side, I’ll post about the fun stuff we did and all the things we saw in another post.

Beach views-the dark spots are all coral beds

*Please note that any links within this post are NOT affiliate links. I received no compensation or discounts for any of the places I’ve linked to or talked about in this blog post. Links are merely for your own information and convenience!