Saturday, November 17, 2012

Outta Your Mind

Ask my high school track coaches how much I like running...they would laugh and say "you must be joking, because Stephanie hates running". And it's true...I did track as a social event and really would've been content to do a few jumping events at a meet and call it a day. They...however...had other plans for me. It was decided the 800m was the perfect run for me...and I despised it. If you don't know...the 800 is the most awful form of torture at a track meet. 2 laps around the track, essentially sprinting. I would get so nervous and so worked up I was often in tears before meets.

I'm not sure when it began to change, but after a while I didn't hate running. Over the years I would still go for an occasional run and I put "Run a 10k" on my bucket list. So I ran the 10k...with little training and finished in decent time. "Well that wasn't so bad", I thought, and changed the goal to "Run a half marathon".
Now maybe this is where I got a little crazy. But lots of my friends do races regularly, so I knew I'd have training buddies. K. and I decided if we picked a fun race, we'd be more likely to be excited and prepare. She was living in San Francisco for the summer, so we chose the Wipro San Francisco Half Marathon. It started down on the Embarcadero, you ran along the water, then got to run over the Golden Gate Bridge!

You'd think signing up in January for a race in July would be plenty of time to prepare...yet it somehow wasn't. I did really well for awhile...but then it got hot, and I got busy, and was in Hawaii the week before the race. Basically I'm really good at making excuses. Then once I made it to SF, me and K. were so excited to see each other we were up drinking wine and eating popcorn well into the night. (oops)

When the alarm went off at 4:30 the next morning (ugh) we thought to ourselves "oh well...just think of it as a nice long morning run!". The start time was excessively early and in true SF style, we were greeted with fog. The race started out well...the first half we really surprised ourselves! And then we started to fall apart. I'd been having knee troubles all summer from running and K. had issues of her own...needless to say our time wasn't the best. We also slightly underestimated the amount of hills on the course (or the fact the entire Golden Gate Bridge is a gradual hill...).

Over all though it was a fun experience, even if I did hobble around the next day or two. And now we know better for next time! K. is much more motivated than me and is running a FULL marathon in December...but as of now I think I'll just stick to the half. We're already trying to pick a fun one for next spring! Napa? San Diego? Vegas? (let's be real...Vegas is a terrible idea for a race). I figure I might as well keep doing races while I'm young and I can!

I've talked to my old track coaches since then...and they can't believe I'm voluntarily running races. Apparently back in the day I really could've been great at the 800m if I was motivated (so they say). I don't know though...I still think sprinting a half mile sounds awful.

Sittin' Pretty In Suntan City

This summer we did our first big family vacation in awhile...Hawaii!! For whatever reason, Dad has absolutely NO desire to go. Which made this the perfect year to go...because he has a big project with work and no vacation time allowed during the summer. So we called up Aunt J. and Cousin D. and decided to make it a girls trip! 1 week in beautiful Kauai.

Day 1:
Mom and Sister came from Seattle, me from Boise, and Aunt J. and Cousin D. from Salt Lake. Long long flight, but overall not too bad! We all met at the Lihue airport then made our way to our home for the week.
We traded our timeshare from the usual location on Powder Mountain in Utah to stay at the Kauai Beach Villas, kind of on the South Eastern shore pretty close to the airport. Nice location right in the middle to head to either shore! Turns out there are chickens EVERYWHERE on Kauai. I never did manage to catch one sadly.

Day 2:
Slight chaos getting our rental car, but finally made it to Costco, the grocery store and a local farmer's market. Such fun fruit we don't have on the mainland! We got a few different things to be adventurous and try. 

Then we FINALLY got some pool time. There was a little one right outside our room, then the bigger pools at the Wyndham next door we could use. Everyone warned us about how much more extreme the sun is here, but we managed to all stay sunburn free! Actually left a little less tan than I'd hoped to be.

Day 3:
Of course Mom and Aunt J. are crazy and up at the crack of dawn regardless, but I feel like we never fully adjusted to the time change. We were all up in time for morning walks on the beach...even catching the sunrise some mornings! So worth it for these views.

Then it was shopping and lunch in Port Allen before heading out on a catamaran ride up the Napali Coast! This was what we were most looking forward to and what ended up being our favorite adventure. A MUST in Kauai.

The sun was out for the first little while, but sadly the clouds rolled in as we were about to start snorkeling. This didn't deter us though...even Cousin D. tried it for a bit! The water was too deep to see anything exciting...but we all got the hang of it and saw tons of boring grey fish.

We were all freezing after getting out of the water (mostly me) but luckily it was now cocktail time! Mai Tai's galore. Free...even better! We got to sit back, drink up, and enjoy the beauty that is the Napali Coast.

The only way you can see the coast is either by boat or by air. The cliffs are so steep no roads go along this part of the island. Our tour took us all the way along the shore, then served us a dinner (and more drinks) on the way back.

I couldn't get enough of how beautiful the sunset on the water was! I could get used to that every night.

Day 4:
Another gorgeous morning walk on the beach, then it was off to the north side of the island!

It was amazing how much more green and jungly the north shore was. We drove all the way to the end of the road, on narrow roads with one way bridges. Supposedly Kauai has tried to avoid some of the tourism and refuses to widen and expand their roads.

We took our time driving and just stopped whenever someone saw something interesting. We did a little shopping in Hanalei, saw the Kilauea Light House, the Wet and Dry caves, and sunbathed at Tunnel's Beach. All the northern beaches were gorgeous, but also very crowded.

Day 5:
I think it took us until day 5 to really embrace the laid back Hawaiian life style! We celebrated Mom's birthday while we were here and all chipped in getting her a beachside cabana massage at the Marriot. She got the massage...we all got drinks. Fair trade to me!

We played around at the Marriot some more, explored Nawiliwili Bay, then got ready for our Luau. We were all slightly disappointed in Smith's Luau. The food was decent and the grounds were just didn't quite live up to all the hype.

Day 6:
Another GORGEOUS sunrise this morning! Definitely worth waking up early for.

Today we drove to the southern end of the island. It became very dry and very red...very quickly. We didn't make it to Waimea Canyon, but we stopped at a Shrimp Shack for lunch (Sis and I went to Subway...) and did some more shopping. We stopped at Poi'pu Beach to do a little sunbathing, but less than 15 minutes there and Mom already threw me money and the car keys and told me to go get some snorkel gear. Besides the fun colorful fish...we saw a sea turtle! We were all super excited! Especially Mom...

Day 7:
Our last full day on the island...tear. We drove up to Opeak'a Falls then had lunch at Paco's Tacos...a beach side taco truck. We met the owner on our boat tour and he gave us coupons!
Mom had read the Lydgate park was supposed to be the best place to snorkel...but we didn't see any fish! She really wanted to snorkel we decided to drive back down to Poi'pu. We saw ANOTHER turtle today and everyone enjoyed the last few relaxing hours on the beach. We stopped in Kaloa to get some shaved ice...why can't we have shaved ice like this on the mainland?! You have to get it Hawaiian stye...with ice cream on the bottom. It sounds weird...but just go with it. You won't regret it!

Day 8:
We all went for one last walk before heading to the airport! And it was a pretty one.

We all went our separate directions; I was headed to California straight from Kauai. It was such a gorgeous and fun vacation...I really hope we make it back someday!