Friday, August 23, 2013

Vacay And Lazy Days

I've been given the nudge that my blog was delinquent and I better get on task regarding a new post. You ask and you shall receive, my fine readers. :)

I've had an INCREDIBLE month of August, so you'll have to forgive my lapse on the blogging front.

We took off on vacation after the second week into the month, and it's been an amazing few weeks. Our goal for vacation this year was to go somewhere new, and to have an active time while there.

I chose New Hampshire and Vermont, 2 days in each place. I'd been to both before, but the rest of my family hadn't, and I knew we'd find the perfect mix of a little bit of shopping, and a lot of activity.

In New Hampshire, we stayed at the North Conway Grand Hotel. It had two pools, one indoor and one outdoor. The outdoor area also had a fire pit for S'mores and a kids fountain wading pool, as well as a playground and larger than life chess board. It also had a small gym, where I still managed to do my hill run workout early one morning. Every evening was a kids' social, with free sundae making bar! In the lobby, there was also free cookies and lemonade at all times from afternoon on! I actually managed to only partake in one cookie. We did some outlet shopping in anticipation of back to school, including new kicks for the whole gang, and "little black dress" for me. Mostly though, we had an amazing time exploring the great outdoors.

We first visited "Diana's Baths." You hike in a mile to these rocks that you can climb to the top, with little waterfalls and shallow pools. We spent several hours, just making our way gingerly across slippery stones and daring to climb higher. It was a great time, active, outdoors and FREE.

We spent the evenings with swimming in the pools and wandering some of the outlet shops.

We also did this: which frankly was hilarious. You rent individual tubes, then get shuttled down to the beginning of the river. You can hook your tubes together with your family members, or just let the gentle current start to push you down the river. In entirety, it takes about 2 hours to float the whole thing. You can even rent a "cooler" tube, attached to your own, and pack a lunch or drinks. There is a beach about half way or more down the river, with rope swing, where you could get out and take a little break.

Well, let me tell you, this was not as "relaxing" as we'd imagined. The current kept pushing us from one side to the other of the river, into rocks or logs. You'd then have to kick and paddle with your arms to get back to center. After about 30 mins of just trying to lazily float, my eldest and I gave up and basically sat on the edge of our tubes and kicked and paddled for the entire time. The water was nice, and only about 3 feet deep. By the time we finished, we stood to climb up the stairs back to the tube drop off, and our legs were jelly. It was a great time, I'd totally do it again.

Next, our trip took us to Vermont. We stayed at the Green Mountain Suites, and WOAH, it was impressive. The price for one night was slightly higher than I'd normally want to pay, but breakfast buffet is provided, as is a "Manager's Reception" each night of a "light meal." Well, the first night was barbecued steak tips, full salad bar, and garlic mashed potatoes, with watermelon for dessert. Oh, and free beer and wine!!! WHAAT? Definitely worth it, for us. Our suite was gorgeous, immaculate and had full kitchen. Again we had indoor pool. full gym, fire pit.  I HIGHLY recommend. It's also a short distance to a big mall with all of the stores you could possibly want.

In Vermont, we decided to rent bikes and bike the Burlington Bike Trail, along Lake Champlain. We rented the bikes from a great shop, North Star Sports ( and headed out to the path. It's 7.5 miles long, along the waterfront, and is just for bikes. You bike past several beaches and we stopped a few times to enjoy the view, have lunch, and refill water bottles. The kids did amazing on this 15 mile biking excursion, and even I (who hadn't been on a bike in probably almost 20 years) had a great time. Our stops were fairly short, and we weren't peddling leisurely! I was actually pretty amazed at the speed the kids wanted to keep up and we got back to the bike shop tired, sweaty and also exhilarated.

It was an amazing trip, I'd even go as far as to say one of the best family trips we've taken. I'm pretty confident that we'll return, but also that we'll continue to seek out more family vacations that encompass the same qualities we loved in this one.

Once we returned and did laundry and slept soundly in our own beds, we took another few days to enjoy nature and activity at my friend Karen's parents cottage. We rented stand up paddle boards for the weekend and had SUCH a blast. It may actually have even been my favourite part of this summer. My friends are all just very natural, not pretentious, and just chill. Their kids are great, the adults are like minded, and we had so many laughs, drinks, great food and time on the water in paddle boats, in the speed boat, kayaking, stand up paddling and swimming. It was the most relaxed that I've felt in a long, long time. My kids hopped on the paddle boards and took off! It was awesome to see and I know we'll be doing much more paddling as a family to come!

Once home, it was back to routine and reality. That always comes crashing in with a swift and thudding entrance, doesn't it?  It hasn't been that bad, really. We've continued to explore, and have enjoyed festivals and bike rides, swims and walks, as well as my youngest's birthday.

As I'm still training, I've also been continuing to run, upping my distance week to week. Tomorrow I'm up to 18k, then 20 and then tapering. Yikes. It's becoming super real, and I'm trying to go against my very nature and just "go with it" and "let things happen" instead of stressing how well I will or won't do. The only person, at the end of the day, that cares what time I got, is me. Unfortunately, as a competitive perfectionist, I care A LOT and I have to let that go a bit so I can enjoy the experience, and be proud of the fact, whatever happens, that a year to the date of my first 5k, I'm running a 1/2 marathon.  Maybe I'll never run one again, maybe I'll be on to the next thing, maybe I'll be taking up biking, who knows. Live in the moment. That's a hard lesson for me, but one I continue to try to embrace.

I've had some injury during this training, so the ideal is to work that out and feel pain free on race day. Plus, I have to be feeling good for my girl, Tania! She's coming all the way from Washington State to support me in this, as she's a seasoned pro. Ya, I'm going to be a hot mess and will probably spend the race crying like I did at the Manotick Road Race.

In cross training news, I also bought a TRX suspension system. Other than the fact that my husband broke part of it the second day we had it (greeeeat! It's still usable though!) I LOVE this thing. I've been doing park workouts with my buds at zero dark thirty am, and we alternate between TRX moves and plyometrics or core work. "Just for fun" (my friends Jay and Katie have very different ideas of fun than Sue-Anne and I do) we run the track with tires. Sometimes, we even throw them. I know, right? WHEEEEE! I wake up sore and know I've done a kick butt workout, but the TRX makes it so that you don't feel like you're dying! WIN!

As a follow up to the license thing-I've also been doing some regular driving! Took the kids and my Mom to the movie theatre and back, and whenever we go anywhere such as errands, my husband forces me to drive now. I'm not gonna lie, that's some nerve wracking stuff right there. The more I do it, the less it will be scary though, right?Hmmm.

I have one more week of summer left with a big event coming up, and then we're into September and all of the crazy that's going to bring! September is chock a block full of the scary, so stay tuned!

Hope you're all enjoying your summers as much as we have been loving ours!!!