Waimanalo Pumpkin Patch!

img_3622I absolutely love October. Even on the island, October means the wind and waves pick up, the weather cools down, and the rains come down. It’s perfect weather for hiking and, with enough rain, the Koolau’s weep with plentiful waterfalls. It’s awesome.

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In the spirit of fall, we headed to Waimanalo Country Farms’ pumpkin patch. Nestled between the sea and majestic Koolau mountains, the farm sits on an idyllic plateau perfect for pumpkin-patching and photo ops.

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Bama had a great time picking out her own mini-pumpkin! If you’re in Hawaii during the next month, you’ve got to go!

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The four of us ended up taking home a ton of pumpkins. Thankfully, my friend brought this hand wagon to lug them through the farm.

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Waimanlo Country Farms is famous for its delicious Nalo-Made Lemonade. I got a Li Hing (a local spice) Lemonade in this super cute, reusable jar.

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We lugged our pumkins up to the sunflower patch, which is up on a little plateau and right below the mountains. Amidst all the sunflowers, you can even see a glimpse of the ocean on the opposite side.


We also found a few activities, but the gaint pumpkin beer pong game was definitely our favorite.

 

Training While Injured


It’s been almost two weeks of non-soccer/non-running existence and let me tell you – the injured life is not a fun one. With lots of life changes like moving apartments & possible career shifts, it’s been a major struggle not being able to run through it all. Running is my mediation, my quiet, precious ‘me’ time, and I’m going a little bit crazy without it.

In a nutshell – resting ain’t easy.


To keep myself in shape for a busy marathon season, I’ve been supplementing as best as I can with bike riding, swimming, and lifting at the gym. The only good news is that I’m able to lift a lot heavier than usual because I’m not running. So, I’ve gotten to play around with compound movements like squats and snatches to keep myself strong.

I’ve also been stuck with the very boring task of ankle PT. I can’t explain why I hate it so much, but I totally do. I hate every second of it. I know it helps, but it’s so boring it’s like watching paint dry, except you have to be an active participant. Ugh.


Anyways, I just go cleared to ‘lightly jog’ for a few minutes and come back next week to get the final go ahead. I’m still benched from soccer, which starts this weekend, and banned from my Old Pali Road race this Sunday. So, for the next week, I’ll still be grumpy and difficult but hopefully will get my happy time back soon. 🙂

Happy Healing!

Nicole


It’s been a few years since I’ve set foot in Europe, after a few beautiful trips to Belgium, France, Italy & Prague. I absolutely adore everything about Europe. The cobblestone streets, the crisp air, brick and mortar bridges, towering castles and bustling cities. On some lucky nights I drift off and dream im wandering down a century old street sipping an espresso and immersing myself in the rich and wide ranging language sand cultures.


This week, my family and I hopped on a cramped flight to Detroit and flew standby to Munich, Germany. By some magical trick of luck, we not only made it there on our first attempt, but my mom, sister and I landed the last three seats on the aircraft. Which, even luckier, happened to be in first class.


My life has changed so much since my last European adventure, and it was incredible to venture that way again in such over the top luck and luxury. 


What was also awesome was the breadth of vegan options in first class. Along with my champagne, I dined on a fresh greens salad, a mix of warm nuts, and summer squash, tomato and vidalia onion tart. For dessert, they didn’t have much, but they did have fresh fruit and fig compote – sans the selection of fine cheeses – and poof! Vegan dessert, y’all.


ALSO, breakfast. BREAKFAST! 
I was a vegetarian on my previous rendezvous across the continent, so I’m excited to see what Germany and Prague have in store for me as a vegan. 
I’m blessed, thankful and beyond lucky to be on this magical trip. Travel brings out the best in all of us, and so much truth, peace and clarity.
Happy travels!

Nikki

Half Marathon Training!


It’s that time of year again – when the island weather is cool, soccer is in full swing, and my life is filled with short, beautiful runs to get ready for half marathon season. Half Marathon training is my very favorite, because the runs are short and easy and don’t totally disrupt my life or turn me into a nap queen the way marathon training does.

My next race is the Hapalua Half Marathon, an awesome event that kicks off in downtown Honolulu and winds its way around diamond head and ends at Kapiolani Park. It’s one of my fave races here in Hawaii. It’s on April 30, 2017, so I have about 12 beautiful weeks to train!

Here’s my training plan:

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After sending my plan to some friends that are also in training, they all asked the same question: why are you using a beginner’s training program?

My answer: because LIFE is hard. A beginner’s plan like this one is easy, flexible, and – most importantly – it works. I can control how fast or slow I run, where to incorporate intervals, and it’s simple enough for it to work in with my soccer schedule.


I encourage everyone, honestly, to stick with an easy, simple, open, adjustable, and flexible training plan, regardless of what race or event its for. Why? Because if it’s not easy, simple, open, adjustable and flexible, it won’t work with your unique schedule, circumstances & life.

Keep it simple, folks! It does work.

Anyways, I’m very excited to be back on a training plan  and on the road and trails. It’s been beautiful having a break, but I’m more than ready to be in racing shape 🙂

Happy training!

Nikki

 

 

Faith Friday: Growing in Faith

faith3No matter what your exact beliefs may be, faith is a powerful thing. Faith empowers us to let go of control and allow our lives to play out the way they are truly meant to. Faith isn’t giving up, it’s leaning in. Faith isn’t weak, or naïve, or pie-in-the-sky thinking; faith is the way to fulfillment, acceptance, and happiness. Faith allows us to adjust, adapt, and keep fighting for what we need and desire in our lives.

Faith is something I’ve struggled with tremendously in my own life. It’s difficult to believe that God (or the Universe, or whatever you believe in) was watching out for me when everything was going wrong and my life was falling apart. When I was heartbroken and lost and wandering around in the darkness, I struggled to grasp the fact that things do happen for a reason.

It’s not just me; a lot of people seriously struggle to maintain their faith through the faith2darker times of their life. Now that I’ve made it through the dark and into the light at the end of the tunnel, I’m able to look back objectively and see – truly, definitely, and clearly – that the struggles I endured have made me into a whole, happy, healthy, positive, caring, understanding, generous, and dynamic person. I am strong but vulnerable, confident yet humble, and completely able to handle whatever life throws my way. That is what we call perspective.

Sometimes we do need to be broken down and shaken up in order to reconstruct ourselves and become who we’re actually meant to be. You don’t know yourself until you – and your faith – are all that you have.

faith1It’s weird for me to reflect on the past and see that God was with me always, like a corrective bumper keeping me along the right path. The few times I fell, it was traumatic and disastrous and so bad that it forced me to completely reroute. It’s a blessing to realize that stress and pain and strife were so, so, inexplicably worth it. I would go through the fire a thousand times more just to be the person with the perspective that I have today.

Whatever you’re going through, I know that you’ll go through it. You will come out of the other side smarter, wiser, and stronger. More powerful and even more perfect. And with a little bit of faith, it will all be worth it.

Healthy Holidays: RW RunStreak!


The holidays are my absolute favorite time of year. Forget summer & spring – I’m all about fall and winter. That’s probably because ‘fall and winter’ here on the islands means nothing more than bigger waves, more rainfall, and cooler breezes. Heck, it might even dip below 70 degrees – time to bring out my only pair of sweatpants and curl up with my pup for some hot chocolate & chill.

Speaking of hot chocolate, the highlight and pitfall of the holiday season is the food. It’s an overwhelming thirty nine day span between Thanksgiving and New Year’s that’s chock-full of eating, drinking, and spending tons of time with friends and family. While that’s great, it’s also tough on the training plan of any runner or fit chick that works hard to stay healthy and happy year round.

This year, I’m committed to eating whatever I desire during the holidays. To achieve that balance and battle the stress and anxiety of letting loose, though, I’m doing the Runner’s World Run StreakRunner’s World Run StreakRunner’s World Run Streak! I’ll be running at least a mile a day, every day, during that pivotal time frame between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Which means I can start the year healthy, happy, strong, and in food freedomland.


To join the run streak, just run a mile each day for 39 days and tag your posts with #RWRunStreak. Your mileage can be just a slow, single mile, or a brutal HIIT mile, or a six-miler done at race pace uphill. Totally up to you.

Happy Healthy Holidays!

Hawaii Poetry Slam

I have been the worst poet ever for the last four or five months. I love poetry, and there’s a special place in my heart for the live stuff. It’s raw, it’s real, it’s incredible, and pretty astounding how creative and eloquent humans can be. When I share my poems, I feel like I’m not just spewing out words or repeating something I’ve forced myself to memorize by repeating 123452345 times. I’m sharing my heart, my thoughts, and  my soul. I’m going to the place and feel of what my poem is about and taking the entire audience with me. It’s a very deep, unique, inexplicable thing.

The Hawaii Poetry Slam happens once a month at a seedy little dive bar that I absolutely love. Why did I not go for five months? I have no fucking clue.

Anyways, this month I actually WENT – and I even shared a poem. A short, sweet, deep piece I’ve been sitting on for way too long.

It felt terrifying and incredible to be back on stage and so vulnerable and open. I feel as if this beautiful little poem that chose me to manifest itself in was finally off my chest and out in the world to be heard and appreciated. It’s a lot like letting a balloon disappear into the clouds; yes, it was my balloon originally, but I made the conscious choice to let it go to wherever it chose.

 

I’m so happy I went. I love the venue, the audience, the poets, the vibe, the love, the sharing, ALL OF IT. I will absolutely be back next month to share more of the madness that goes on inside of my writer’s head.

 

Health & Happiness: A Beautiful Couple

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Just like peas & carrots or love & loyalty, health and happiness make a solid couple. While you can have one without the other, the two are more powerful when served up together – they strengthen, support, and amplify one another.  Better health boosts our chances at greater happiness; a life of love & joy make it profoundly easier to find the motivation to focus on our health. And when they join forces, they open up a path of light and contentment that, arguably, all of us are searching for.

The thorn of this philosophical rose is that neither of these things – health or happiness – are exclusively in our control. Our health can be wrecked by diseases, genes, accidents and harm. We can get in a car accident, fall of a roof, or contract some crazy virus/illness that makes health in any sense a lofty goal. On the flip side, happiness is inherently elusive. Regardless of how much we chase it, depression, loss, or just general circumstance can allow it to slip out of our grasp at any point in time.

d1a5a591bed6e2e0ea4778ddaeb38206The beauty of this concept, however, is that we can focus on what we’re lacking – or what’s more in our control – and work to change it. If we suffer from injury or disease, we can shift our focus to building a better mental outlook, defining emotional boundaries, and making physical changes in diet and (if possible) exercise that could boost our shot at a happier life. If we have happiness in some areas of our life, we can focus on our physical, emotional, mental and/or spiritual health, depending on what we need most. There are those of us that are physically healthy but struggle in other areas.

It’s crucial to remember that health is not only defined in the physical sense. While feeling and looking great physically do contribute to a better mood and confidence, our emotional, mental and spiritual health are equally important to our overall wellbeing. Just like working out and eating right, there are lots of avenues to improve our health to craft a well-rounded sense of jubilance and joy.

Personally, a focus on my physical health has been profoundly effective therapy. As I’ve become leaner, faster, and stronger, I’ve noticed a plethora of positive changes in other areas of my life. I can run farther, but I’m also writing more. I’m doing my poetry and getting into freelance work, which mean the world to me. I’ve built a better relationship with my family, chosen more positive and supportive friends, and worked through a lot of emotional issues I’ve dealt with over the past year. I don’t just look better; I feel better. And the voice in my head has shifted from, oh well, who cares? F*ck it. to things are going so well, I’ve worked so hard, I feel so good – I don’t want to screw this up. I want to keep making positive choices. 

For me, health and happiness are symbiotic. They need and want each other, and build themselves room in my life to do so. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Money Can’t Buy Paradise

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Choice can sometimes seem like a burden – now that we have the independence and resources to carve out our own destiny, we can decide where we live, what we do and who we are. As a consequence, we’re responsible for our own happiness.
For me and my boyfriend, we’re stuck between a rock and a not-so-hard place; to stay on the beautiful island we love or move home to Long Beach, California.

Long Beach isn’t exactly a bad plan b; in choosing between them, we’re spoiled little brats. Both have a laid-back culture, unique offerings and, most importantly, waves. Both are filled with people we love that support whatever decision we make.

As we’ve weighed the pros and cons, we realized that we we’re choosing less between two locations and more between two paths in life. To live the easier, more affordable, and comfortable life in the LBC or to fight for our dream to live in an expensive, isolated paradise.

In considering  my personal future, the struggle is between two dreams. My dream of using my networks back home to become a journalist, writer, or relatively successful. Or to be poor, possibly jobless and blissfully happy. I have to decide between shaping  what I do and determining who I will become.

Although we remain undecided, I vote to stay and make it work. Money can buy independence, travels and material things; but it can’t buy happiness. You can’t buy the feeling of sliding into a perfect, glittering blue wave at Makapu’u or getting slammed on the reef at Sandys. No one can put a clear price on this island’s breathtaking beauty.

If I go back to working my in-school jobs or an unpaid internship, so be it. I’ve survived off of top ramen and Costco runs before. And to realize the dream of not sacrificing happiness for money, at least in the short run, is unarguably priceless.