Rest, relax, refresh

View from our condo!
What better place to begin summer training than Hawaii? Last week, I did just that - I spent 8 wonderful days on vacation in beautiful Kauai with my boyfriend, Avi, and his family. A week of relaxation in paradise was just what I needed as I finished up my 2 week post-season break from running and began my summer training. 


Arriving in Hawaii at the end of 2 full weeks of no running, I had high hopes that the time off had given my ailing knee time to heal and recover. On the first morning in Kauai, I got up early and headed out to test the knee on a run. Although it wasn't 100% pain-free, I was able to reacquaint my body with running and slowly ease back into things. Throughout the week I was cautious not to jump back in too fast, but thankfully I've been able to run without too much pain. It helps that running along the beautiful ocean is a proven pain-reliever :)

To maintain fitness during my time off, I'd been cross-training in the pool. I find swimming to be incredibly relaxing - there's something meditative about it. When I'm lap swimming, I get in the pool and just zone out. But when I swim in open water, that's another story... for me, swimming in oceans, lakes, and rivers is absolutely terrifying! This fear poses a problem when on a swimming- and snorkeling-filled trip to Hawaii... I know it's irrational, but I have a terrible fear of deep, dark water and the creepy creatures that live in the ocean's depths. Thankfully, I was able to brave the open water and overcome my fears... and surprise surprise, I fell in love with snorkeling!

Once I got over my fear of fish, giant waves, and deep water, I had a great time. Avi and I spent countless hours in the water: boogie-boarding at Brenneke's Beach, snorkeling at Poipu, swimming with sea turtles along the reef at Tunnels Beach, and jumping off rocks at the Queen's Bath lava pools - note the terrified look on my face contrasted to Avi's look of pure joy, haha.


Rock-jumping at Queen's Bath

In between all the fun in the water, we did a lot of hiking (to counteract the copious amount of macadamia nut ice cream I ate during the trip!). Avi, his sister, her husband, and I hiked through beautiful Waimea Canyon, accurately dubbed "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific." We also did an 8-mile trek on the Kalalau Trail along the Na Pali Coast, out to Hanakapi'ai Beach and then up to a waterfall. I was really excited about this trail, as Runner's World recently touted it as one of the 25 best trail runs in America: http://www.runnersworld.com/cda/microsite/article/0,8029,s6-238-511--13959-2-1X2X3X4X5-6,00.html. However, after hiking it I beg to differ. Very few parts of the trail would have been safe to run on. In fact, during our hike a woman fell, rolled an ankle, and had to be rescued by a helicopter (the trail is only accessible on foot or by boat or helicopter). The trail is strenuous but great for hiking; but runners, take caution.
Rocking the knee brace while hiking the Kalalau Trail, overlooking Ke'e Beach
The week in Kauai was the perfect way to rest and relax. Although I'm bummed to be back in stormy, cold California, I'm feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and excited for what the summer holds! I'm excited to be back training and chasing my Olympic Trials dream, which is just 13 short months away... 

Until next time, run joyfully!
Kaitlin