You Don’t Need a Makeover: Food Freedom Friday


You don’t need a makeover.
Yep, you read that right – no matter your weight, size, shape, gender or age, you DON’T need a makeover. The fitness/diet industry does. 


Imagine if you had a store that sold a single size of clothing – or offered a single, specified entree – or if Jamba Juice offered ONE smoothie?

It’s illogical to sell one specific item because we all know people are different. Some people like berries, some people like citrus fruits. Some people are short, others are tall. 

Yet, the diet and fitness industry gets away with selling us a single ideal per gender – a tall, muscular, chiseled and well portioned man, coupled with a slender, yet muscular, yet still distinctly feminine woman. And they make billions of dollars a year on the mere fact that the majority of the population is physically incapable of achieving the image they’re selling.


If you sell an unreachable image, customers will never stop buying. If we all looked perfect, why would we buy powders and pills and capsules and workout programs? There’s no money in the achievement; there’s money in the chase. 

So no, you don’t need a makeover. Healthy eating and exercise do yield a wonderful breadth of benefits, like increased energy, deeper sleep, higher dopamine and serotonin levels, better focus and cognitive function, improved digestive health, and the list continues. But being healthy looks different on every. single. person. Be you, and be healthy if you choose – but don’t let clever marketing and photoshop make the choice for you.

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.

 

Week 1 of Marathon Training!

marathon memeAs always, marathon training did not exactly get off to a smooth start this year (suspiciously, just like every year so far) but hopes are still high. I kicked off the first of my 12-week training plan to get ready for the fabulous Honolulu Marathon on December 10th. I’m all about supporting my city and running on my own turf, through a course I know all too well by the time race day rolls around.

This marathon will be lucky number 5, and I’ve got myself on a pretty fun plan of preparatory races leading up to the big day. I’ve got my absolute favorite – the Xterra Gunstock Trails Half Marathon – at the end of October, as well as the Val Nolasco Half Marathon – which mimics the final leg of the real deal – in November.


I’m coming off a sprained ankle a few weeks back, so I’m treading carefully and doing my super boring ankle exercises when I actually remember to do them. On the bright side, my first long run – eight hot & steamy miles around Honolulu – went by super quick & easy. So, there’s that.

Anyways, I’m using this super flexible plan from He and She Eat Clean to train. I chose it because it’s 12 weeks (sweet!) and works in tons of cross-training, which is the only way I can mentally handle preparing for a marathon.

NB Marathon

Coconut Chase 8K & Injured Struggles


I had an awesome time at the Coconut Chase 8K last weekend, where I breezed through two easy, beautiful loops along Sand Island’s beautiful coast. Locals tend to think of Sand Island as the greasy, industrial peninsula that is is, for the most part. Unbeknownst to me, there’s a picturesque recreation area that runs along the southern tip that’s a runner’s idyllic dream.


I felt very on pace that day and watched the revived few miles fly by. Since the race was so short, I never had the deep sense of panic that surfaces during the early miles of half and full marathons. This was my first 8K and I felt strong, sexy and fast.

After I got my results, I was ecstatic to learn I placed 11th in my age/gender group and hit between an 8:30-8:57 mile pace the whole time. For me, that’s huge. I’m a naturally slower paced runner, clocking in 9:30-10 minute miles with pride and effort. So, I’m definitely doing my happy dance over this one 🙂


However, said happy dance is difficult given the injury that occurred very shortly after crossing the finish line. In typical all-or-nothing fashion, I went to play soccer and totally rolled my ankle. So much that I missed work and found it warm, buzzing, and swollen since that fateful wrong step.

I’ve spent the last few days going crazy not being able to run. I have another short but sweet 4.4-miler on Old Pali Road coming up on September 10th, followed quickly by my favorite race on the island – the XTerra Gunstock Ranch Trail Half Marathon in October. SO, I have a lot of healing and training to figure out in the very limited meantime.

My plan is to replace my runs with swimming and stationary bike workouts, coupled with physical therapy and weight lifting. Hopefully, I’ll be able to have more happy finish line moments in the next few months!

Happy Healing,
Nicole

Half Marathon Training & Coconut Chase 8K!

As all runners know, the onset of fall means one thing, and one thing only: RACE SEASON. The marathon organizers were kind enough to at least schedule most of them in the fall, during the cooler, breezier, and run-friendly weather that autumn brings. Not to mention the magical experience of running through a cacophony of swirling red, orange and yellow leaves. Even here on the island, where the leaves don’t change, the weather sure does. It’s cooler and windier and way less intense than the terrible month of August. Ugh.

Normally, I’m gearing up for the Marine Corps Marathon, which I’ve sadly decided to forgo this year. In January, I suffered a difficult back injury that kept recurring due to my refusal to stop playing soccer and rest. So, as injuries tend to do, I ended up unable to do anything for quite some time, and missed the critical buildup period for my MCM training plan 😦

Instead, I’ve spent the summer building back up to my normal strength and speed and have signed up for a litany of fun, short-distance races throughout the fall. The first being the Coconut Chase 8K along Sand Island, which kicks off this Sunday (yay!). It will be followed by a buildup of races each month, ending at the Honolulu Marathon in December:

  • Coconut Chase 8K (August)
  • Old Pali Road 5-miler (September)
  • XTerra Gunstock Trails Half Marathon (October)
  • Val Nolasco Half Marathon (November)
  • Honolulu Marathon (December)

I’m thrilled to test out the short-distance waters and build my confidence back up after being set back by such a tough injury. I’m prepping right now for this weekend, which will be my first short-distance race I’ve ever done. Surprisingly, I’ve stuck to full and half marathons and not really dabbled in anything less. As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve started to consider smaller races and shorter distances.

Wish me luck on my race this weekend! It’ll be along the beautiful shoreline of Sand Island, an easy, hot, and flat terrain.

Happy Running!
Nicole

Waimanalo Pumpkin Patch!


The other day I realized that October is almost over. My favorite month of the entire year has almost passed me by without me even realizing! Between a new job and schedule, a new apartment, and soccer and marathon training, I haven’t gotten to enjoy anything spooky, scary or pumpkin related. Heck, I haven’t even had a pumpkin spice latte! Fail.


When I found myself with an empty, stormy Saturday not suitable for surfing or hiking, I immediately took advantage and dragged my bf and our pup to the pumpkin patch. I absolutely love waimablo, nicknamed “God’s Country” for its astounding beauty between turquoise seas and at the foot of the majestic koolau mountains. 

So we headed to Waimanalo Country Farms for their adorable pumpkin patch. It doesn’t just look old school and country – it is authentically old school and country. From a lemonade and sweet tea stand to a homemade pumpkin cannon and rickety hay ride, it’s the real deal.


Bama was absolutely thrilled by the hay fields and animals and was all smiles the entire time we were there. A lot of the activities are suited for families with small kids, so we stuck to wandering through the giant sunflower fields and picking out the perfect pumpkin.


We picked our way through the patch and found our pumpkin – perfectly round and plump, but with a flat face ideal for carving. I was thrilled to take it home under my arm and had a great time absorbing the overall cuteness. 


We went to the beach across the street and found this rope swing too! I couldn’t have asked for a better Saturday. 

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

Hapalua Half Marathon Recap!

Toeing the line of the Hapalua Half Marathon last Sunday, I was   convinced that this was not going to be a good race. I was coming back from being sick; I hadn’t really trained; I just wasn’t feeling too confident. I’m starting to get used to the dreary, early-morning excitement of race days, but this wasn’t one of them. Instead of normal butterflies and focus, I had a heavy, distracted sense of dread.

As the race kicked off towards the iconic statue of Duke Hahanamoku, my steps got a little lighter and easier. I was so distracted by my bad attitude I didn’t even realize until mile 5 that I was going faster than my normal pace and was almost halfway done. Say what?!! I started to do the math between my watch and mileage and recognize the fact that I might even p.r. – and I wasn’t even tyring. I was plodding along while mentally complaining at a pace faster than I’d ever ran a half before.

  
After the halfway mark I enjoyed every step. I even picked up my pace until I hit the hill of death that was, for some terrible, awful, unknown reason, at mile NINE. Everyone was staggering and walking their way up the hill, but I hit short steps & breaths and powered through the crowd and caught the tail end of the next group. I sailed down Diamond Head and ran the last mile hard. Nestled between Diamond Head and the crowded Waikiki Beach, I finished the Hapalua at a 2:15:05 – a pace of about 10:20 (according to my results!)

  
I’m stoked and slightly shocked that I clocked a new p.r. without much training, confidence, or optimism. I guess it means, if anything, that staying healthy and fit does make a big difference in your performance. I have another half along the same course at the end of May, so I’m shooting to train and come in under two hours. As a slightly slow (and former very slow) runner, a sub-two hour time would mean the w o r l d to me and my thick, soccer legs.
Happy racing!

Nikki

 

New City, New Apartment, New Me

For the six years I’ve lived on the island, I’ve always been somewhat of a country girl. Even my dorms were out in the boonies! I’ve gotten used to crazy traffic, lots of driving, and the slow, patient beauty of the island’s east side. I fell in love with the majestic mountains and sparkling waters that captured my heart each and every day.


This month, though, I decided to change it up – and I fell hard in the love with hustle and bustle of Honolulu. My new job, soccer teams, and plenty of friends were all crammed in among the local eateries, shops, hotels, and ethnic restaurants that comprise Oahu’s biggest and busiest metropolis. It only made sense that I placed myself in the middle of the cacophony.


Now, I live in a small apartment a one mile walk to work and a two mile run to the nearest beach. I’ve barely even moved my car since I arrived here in Honolulu, as I’ve walked and ran pretty much everywhere. Since my former home in Kaneohe sat on a gigantic hill among other equally monstrous inclines, walking wasn’t much of an option and running was a serious struggle. Here in the city, my knees and hamstrings are thanking me as I swiftly run to the gym, beach, work, happy hour, a friend’s house – you name it, I will get myself there proudly on foot amidst the heat and faster than the traffic. I feel so healthy, happy, and accomplished by all the outdoor time that it’s made a significant difference in how I feel, think, and eat all day long.


Most importantly, I’m able to play soccer almost every.single. day. if I want to. There’s even a park with lights – a subject of great excitement for any player – that I can literally see from my apartment. I can train, run, or play there any night of the week without a second thought. With virtually no commute and lots of time strolling around outside, I’m happy. I feel more like myself. The city certainly has it’s issues, but nothing beats adding so.much.room.for.activities. to my life 🙂

I’ll definitely be enjoying my new running turf as long as this honeymoon phase lasts.

Happy Running!