Posted in MAMA

An Active Pregnancy

Before I got pregnant – or when I very first got pregnant – I was beyond naive. I signed up for a 10K and 1-miler on the same weekend (instead of the Honolulu Marathon, of course) and assumed I’d slowly and happily jog through them with my barely-present bump and continue staying consistently, highly active through the whole 9 months.

By the time this weekend rolled around, I had been vomiting and barely eating for weeks. I was so nauseous in the first trimester I had trouble sleeping at night, didn’t want to socialize, and found most foods aside from bananas and crackers to be inedible. I still technically ‘completed’ these ill-fated digital races, but I half-jogged the one mile and walked the entire 10K. I also threw up several times during the 10K, and only continued because that was typical of any day at that time.

Now that I’m in my second trimester and counting down the days until the third, things have changed. I have a nice round belly that makes it tough to tie my shoes, but said belly is no longer growing and expanding like it was before. I can finally eat tomatoes again, have more energy, and can get through the day pretty normally with an afternoon nap. I can also walk/jog now that my new balance is under control, too.

Here’s a few things that have been incredibly helpful in staying active during my pregnancy.

Let It Go

This is the most important lesson of all. Whatever you thought pregnancy would be like, forget about it. You’re on your own unique journey and your body will be crystal clear on what it can and cannot tolerate. Sure, I’ve watched YouTube videos of women running half marathons or doing deadlifts or whatever else pregnant, but that’s their abilities and experience – not mine. I was an extremely active person before baby, and was almost completely sidelined by the first trimester alone. If that’s what’s right for me and my baby, I’m happy to stay on the bench as long as I need to.

Gym/Lifting Weights

The gym has been my go-to most days. I did some quick research to find safe exercises and even some that help build muscles for labor. My basic routine is a lighter/modified leg day with biceps & triceps and cool-down cardio.

At Home/Park/Wherever Workout

My husband is fairly active, and I’m usually playing soccer or skating right alongside him. Now that those things have been deemed off-limits, I started lugging my yoga mat, kettlebell and dumbbells with him to the park. This can also easily be done at home, at a kid’s soccer practice, or wherever.

Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal yoga is, according to my doctor, one of the best exercises for moms-to-be. It helps stretch out tight hips and uncramp crampy legs, bring some peace and stillness, and help with nausea and balance. Here’s one of my favorite youtube videos with minimal equipment I can do right at home.

Walking/Hiking

Running has been out of the picture for most of my pregnancy. At first, I was sick and dizzy, and then became wobbly and off-balance and plain old tired. Walking has been my best friend. I walk all the time, from taking my dog around the neighborhood to going to the track to taking a (literal) hike. Walking is low impact, keeps the heart pumping, and is gentle enough that I can do it on my worst days – and on those days, it actually makes me feel a lot better.

Important – I’m Not a Doctor

Just a quick note – I am not a doctor, and am sharing what’s worked specifically for me during my pregnancy. I ask my doc all kinds of crazy questions, and those include checking that everything listed above isn’t only safe for pregnancy in general, but for me and my pregnancy, specifically. Be sure to do the same with yours!

Posted in Island Life, Running, Uncategorized

Maunawili Falls Trail Run


I’ve been seriously lacking on my training plan. A week off turned into three weeks, which is now four, and I have an XTERRA Half Marathon at Kualoa Ranch next weekend and a full marathon in DC at the end of the month. I’m pretty sure I trained wayyy too hard for the first two-thirds of the plan, and fell of the wagon for the home stretch. Or maybe I just got tired/bored/over it.

Either way, I’m staggeringly unprepared for both of my upcoming races. Especially the one lurking just around the very close corner of next freakin weekend. Anyways, I found myself with a Friday afternoon off right near Maunawili Falls, a fun, muddy trail through the windward jungle to a winding river, swimming hole, and waterfall.


I quickly jumped in my car and took the winding, narrow road to the trailhead. The drive itself is gorgeous; all hanging vines, chirping birds and golden sun rays breaking through the dense green everything. I changed out of my coaching gear and put on my clunky hiking boots and took off on a slow jog toward the trailhead.


I wanted to jog/run through the majority of the hike to ascertain how a trail race might be different than on eon the road. Since it’s my first time – EVER – I have absolutely no clue what it will really be like. I’m assuming a lot less people and water stations, a lot less clear course markers, and a much cooler, calmer, and more serene experience. I’m also assuming that it will be more physically difficult to run the same distance on irregular terrain that a flat, smooth road.


About a half mile into the trail, I realized that the physical effort was much more profound than a road run. I was jumping, climbing, slowing and stopping, picking my way through muddy patches and across rivers and over and under fallen branches and trees. Yes, it was more difficult and hilly than I had hoped. But it was so much more fun, peaceful, and personal. I kinda loved it so much I would go every single day if I could.


Out of breath, hot, with no water or wind – I said to myself in between pants, this could really be a thing for me. I DIG this.

We’ll see if I still feel that way after XTERRA – but for now, I feel like I’ve healed my broken relationship with running just by taking it off the road and into the jungle. 🙂

Happy Running!

Nikki

Posted in Island Life, Uncategorized

Travel Tuesday: Mt. Olympus Hike


I expected to be writing a super cool post about my awesome travels around Europe with my family, which I would be getting back from just about now. Instead, I didn’t go anywhere – the Europe trip I’d been looking forward to all year became the Europe trip that wasn’t. My mom tore her Achilles tendon, my sister had knee surgery, and my dad injured his kneecap – all within a week. Apparently, this trip just was NOT meant to be.


Seriously, that really did happen. Don’t believe me? My sister sent me this of all of their boots chilling at home together in collective injured non-travelness.


Since I can’t travel, I decided to cram some extra adventure into my life on the island – in the form of beach time, hikes, and  a spontaneous trip up to North Shore. My favorite adventure, though, was a wet, cold, slippery hike up Waahila Ridge Trail to Oahu’s Mt. Olympus peak.


It was one of those hikes were everything went wrong; we left too late, picked the worst possible weather, and struggled to slip and slide up muddy slopes. Mt. Olympus usually offers stunning, panoramic views of Oahu’s south and east shorelines, but it was so cloudy we couldn’t see a damn thing. In fact, it felt as if we were walking on mist itself, the ridge breaking out just above the crown of the clouds.


It was freezing cold and we drudged through mud and sideways, slightly torrential rain. We got to almost the top and the rain picked up so much that we were climbing up a river and were forced to turn back. It was nearly impossible to grab onto the ropes, since they were slick with rain and wet and mud.


We left so late in the day that we walked back the last third of the ridge in the dark. I slipped and fell on my ass half a dozen times on slick tree roots that I couldn’t see because the sun had set and were out of light and luck.


Yet, somehow, it was insanely fun and memorable. How is it that the worst times are often remembered as the best?
  

Posted in Island Life

Aloha Friday: Kapoho Tide Pools

  
I barely ever make it out to the west side. Small as this island is, we all keep to our own sections 99% of the time; have our own hikes, places to eat, and secret spots. The day after thanksgiving, though, my friends decided to take a spontaneous road trip to the other side.

Hello from the other side…..

The Kapoho Tide Pools are towards Oahu’s westernmost tip, so it’s a relatively far journey for us island folk. The drive there veers off to a dirt road riddled with gigantic puddles, dips, and rocks. Thankfully, we had a truck to muscle our way through to the stopping point and continue on foot.

The hike is breathtaking; we watched waves crash against rocky sea cliffs as the sun set poetically in the distance, lighting the land and sea and equally glittering gold. We had a hard time even walking out there because we kept turning around at the stunning landscape in disbelief.

The tide pools are awesome; isolated, turquoise and teeming with life. There were crabs, vana (Hawaiian sea urchin) and small fish busying about beneath our feet. The pools were big and deep enough to swim in, and were warmer than the sea from the sun’s glare.

   

  

  

  

  

  

Posted in Island Life

Aloha Friday: Tantalus Hike

  
In theory, Tantalus is nothing more than a cylindrical cone point in the southern Koʻolau Mountain range on Oahu’s South Side. In reality, though, it’s a magical change of atmosphere a few miles up and away from he bustling city of Honolulu. It boasts spectacular 360-degree of the island’s staggeringly varied landscape and a criss-crossed frenzy of trails and loops that traverse all over its forested point.

There’s trails off shooting the main lo0ps at every turn; you can ascend to the top for picturesque views or weave deeper into the forest through gigantic trees, bamboos, and sporadic clearings.

  
 So close to the city, Tantalus provides a gorgeous and well-deserved escape into the Hawaiian jungle. And I’ve only seen very little of it’s beauty 🙂

Happy Hiking!

   
    
    
 

Posted in Island Life

Manoa Falls Hike

Manoa falls is a beautiful, easy, low key hike tucked away behind the bustling city of honolulu.

I went pretty late on Friday, so we didn’t have enough time to venture past the first waterfall. The hike – and falls – only get more impressive as you go through the hike, so I’ll have to post the whole thing when I do it!

Here’s a few rushed pics of the gorgeous valley and first fall. Although it was quick and easy, the hike was still a wonderful experience 🙂 enjoy the pics!

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Posted in Island Life

Keeping Fit In Paradise

Wether you’re blessed to live on a tropical island or planning to visit one this summer, there’s plenty of ways to get/stay fit in paradise. Most of us islanders are pretty fit – after all, it is bathing suit season every day round these parts.

Whether you’re a water baby or a land lover, there’s endless activities that let you explore the island and get a good workout in to boot.

Source: getyourguide.com
Source: getyourguide.com

Surfing Lessons

For those of you who aren’t avid surfers (you poor, poor things) taking lessons torches calories, gets you out in the sun and into the clear, cool water. No matter where you’re staying, there’s probably some surf shacks set up close by. If you’re in Waikiki, however, you have endless options for lessons & rentals. Plus, you’ll get a gorgeous view of the strip and Diamond Head from the ocean.

Source: justwander.in
Source: justwander.in

Stand up Paddling (SUP)

I love, love, love stand up paddling! It’s an insane workout with feeling like, well, a workout! Since you’re not competing with a  zillion other tourists for teeny-tiny waves, it’s a peaceful and serene experience. My favorite part is that unlike kayaking, you can stop in the middle of the ocean and just lay there, relax, or even do some yoga. They’re easy to find & rent, and it’s a lot easier for the water-wary.

Makapuu Lighthouse Trail
Makapuu Lighthouse Trail

Hiking

All the islands boast some insanely kickass hikes & a lot of them aren’t even too crowded, either. On Oahu, the most populous and hotel-filled, Diamond Head is touristy, but it’s close to the hotels and worth it anyway (see my last post!) Manoa Falls is a little farther, but it leads you into the jungle and to some beautiful waterfalls and it’s not super far from town.

If you go on the east side (over by Haunama Bay and lots of popular beaches) there’s loads of good hikes. Olomana’s perilous ‘Three Peaks’ for the advanced, Maunawili for those who’ve ever dreamed of jumping off a waterfall and into a perfect pool, Makapuu Lighthouse, and Stairway to Heaven for the fearless and somewhat insane.

Stairway is literally a rickety ladder going up the face of the Koolau’s and onto one of the island’s highest accessible points. You can see the entire island, but only for the sunrise. Due to a few deaths/major injuries, Stairway is technically closed to the public and illegal to climb. You’ll have to hook up with a local to find it.

Source: aloha-hawaii.com
Source: aloha-hawaii.com

Snorkeling

Obsiously, the go-to island activity is getting your snorkel on. I seriously recommend visiting Haunama Bay on the east side; it can be pretty crowded (as in you’re literally snorkeling into other people) but it’s well worth it. Somehow there’s always an abundance of neon-colored fish regardless of how many humans are in the water.

I also suggest Shark’s Cove on North Shore; it’s a calm little bay protected by a rock wall, but you can also venture out and into the deep blue sea if you’re cool like that.

Source: meetup.com
Source: meetup.com

Kayaking

To be honest, I’m very anti-kayak. I hate it, especially when I always seem to end up paddling to make up for those who aren’t. But it is a good workout if you’re into it.

Source: discoverhawaiitours.com
Source: discoverhawaiitours.com

Walking the Strip

The Waikiki strip is pretty long – a little over 2 miles – but there’s lots to see and do. Tons of shops, restaurants, you name it. Whenever I’m traveling I somehow end up wandering around everywhere until my feet ache. It’s not a crazy-good workout, but it will help burn off all the plate lunches & Mai Tais you’re probably downing during your stay.

That’s my best suggestions for keeping fit on a tropical vacation – what are your favorite ways to stay fit?

Posted in Island Life

Aloha Friday: Diamond Head Hike

Happy Aloha Friday! I’m soooooo looking forward to the weekend – and just praying for clear skies and clean waves. And don’t forget to enter yesterday’s giveaway for free entry into any Reebok Spartan Race this year! Click here for the entry form 🙂

A few weeks ago, a few friends and I headed out to town (a.k.a Honolulu/Waikiki) to hike Diamond Head. I’ve actually never hiked it before, and had mostly written it off as too touristy to really be worth it.

Well….it was worth it. Totally gorgeous, beautiful you name it. In Hawaii, even the “touristy” things still have their magic.

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Posted in Island Life

Pillboxes Hike – Kailua, HI.

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Since the waves on the island are still flat (grrrr) my day off became another hiking day. Most of the more jungle-y paths were rained out, so we decided to ascend Pillboxes. Nestled in the Lanikai neighborhood of the super-wealthy, Pillboxes is a short, steep little trail that leads up to ridge-like peaks with cool, island breezes.

It’s called ‘Pillboxes’ because it was used as a defense point back in the day, so the ridge is dotted with little bunkers (a.k.a., pillboxes) Now, the bunkers are covered with bright graffiti that constantly changes – some days it’s painted completely blue or red, only to be tagged over in a few weeks. My local friend told me that he used to go to parties up in the pillboxes, since it had a crazy-good view of the stars and the moon reflecting on the beach. And probably because cops aren’t really going to catch a bunch of kids partying on top of a mountain.

I know a lot of people hate graffiti, but I’ve always loved it. And somehow, the bright colors and varied scrawl fits in perfectly with nature’s backdrop. I don’t think anyone who hasn’t been here can understand, but in Hawaii, it just makes sense.

Hike-wise, Pillboxes is unique because its 360-degree view of the eastern side of the island. You can see Lanikai Beach and the Mokes (islands) in front, the curve of the bay by Bellow’s to the right, jurassic-like Koolau mountains behind, and the span of Kailua, the North Beach Peninsula, and Chinaman’s hat to the left. And today, we could see clouds gently hovering on top of the Koolau’s casting their shadows on the housing tracs below. The turqouise water was so clear we could see the deep blue reef underneath its surface. Rumor has it that you can even see Lanikai’s resident tiger shark – estimated to be about 12-14 feet – from this vantage point on a lucky day.

Let me tell you – this hike is frickin beautiful. I truly couldn’t be any more in love with the island that I call home.

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Posted in Island Life

Aloha Friday: Makapuu Lighthouse Trail!

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Happy Aloha Friday everyone! Since the islands been flat lately (boo!) we’ve had to try different activities, such as my favorite: hiking. Along with gorgeous beaches, breezy weather an awesome waves, the island has plenty of beautiful trails for the wayward wanderer. From waterfalls to dense rainforest to spectacular views, pretty much any hike around here is a winner.

Since I had work today, we chose to go to the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail because its a mere stones throw from my job. It’s a pretty easy hike, since the path is paved (meh) but the view at the top is breathtaking.

The trail snakes up a steep cleef that sits agaisnt the water, with a crystal-clear view of the east side of the island, from around Allen Davis to Chinaman’s hat. One of my favorite things about living here is how beautiful and realtively untouched it truly is – the sky is so clear that we can see shadows from the clouds on the glittering water and green hills. Back home in Cali, we’re used to seeing the stereotypical smog line on the horizon.

Here’s our pics from today. The lighthouse is a beautiful trail – and we didn’t even have enough time to offroad it on the northern part of the cliff. So there’s more to this lovely little landmass, which I will hopefully be reattempting (and sharing!) soon.

Enjoy!

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