Monday, March 30, 2009

HOW TO SURVIVE A BAD WEEK
On the surface, last week didn't look so bad. It was Week 3, Half Ironman Training. Here's what training was supposed to be:
  • Monday--strength training;
  • Tuesday--Swim 1 hour; run 30 minutes;
  • Wednesday--45 min. cycle, 1 leg drills;
  • Thursday--30 min. swim; 30 min. run;
  • Friday--1 hour cycle;
  • Saturday--1.5 hour cycle; 30 min. run;
  • Sunday--off.

Here's how training actually went:

  • Monday--strength training (although I was pretty tired from the weekend and only spent about 20 minutes at it);
  • Tuesday--1 hour swim; 35 min. run. Both accomplished, and the run was outside despite the colder temperatures and high winds. What was especially good about the run was that I was able to keep in the mid ranges of heart rate despite the wind, and only found myself forced to walk twice briefly. My ability to maintain low intensity is increasing every week.
  • Wednesday--45 min. cycle, on the trainer of course, doing 1 leg drills. I noticed that by the end of this workout I was extremely fatigued and was having difficulty maintaining the lower heart rate required. Getting ready for work, I was so tired I wanted to go back to bed. By the time I got to work, I felt ill I was so tired, and my sinuses were acting up, along with having a raging sinus headache. I ended up going home from work early.
  • Thursday--off entirely. Still felt sick and extremely fatigued.
  • Friday--off entirely. Was feeling better but not good enough to want to exert.
  • Saturday--Felt much better, and actually did 1.5 hours on the trainer followed by 30 minutes on the treadmill, without stopping. I could have gone outside to run because it was sunny and about 38 degrees, but was so sweaty after the long trainer workout I just opted to get on the treadmill and avoid the longer transition that would have been necessary to get all dressed again to go out.
  • Sunday--was supposed to be off, but felt good enough that I made up a couple of the missed workouts--did a 3 mile run, followed by a 45 min. trainer ride.

I don't know why the schedule was different from the first 2 weeks, but regardless, I certainly needed some down days.

The weekend before, what with having weekend company and babysitting, along with the long run/bike workouts, probably should have been enough to wear me out, but then I had to add an extremely stressful family situation unfolding along with work continuing--for the past 2 months--being extra stressful, and I think it all hit at once. And the sinus/headache/sick stomach thing apparently has been going around at work. I didn't realize it until I actually took Wednesday afternoon off to just go home and lay down because of the nausea and headache, thinking instead it was from extreme fatigue/stress/sinus drainage. So it made me feel somewhat less guilty about missing workouts, considering I probably did have something going on with my system. My heartrate was up for 3 days, so that told me something was going on.

This past weekend, we dodged the bullet--the snow bullet that is--and only had about a hour's worth of snowfall, which did not accumulate. The rest of the weekend was just cold, rainy, and windy. And like the faithful postman, neither rain, cold, wind, or the darkness of night prevented me from getting out to run yesterday, late in the afternoon, but I got it done. I had felt sleepy and out of sorts most of the day. My daughter and one grandson and I went to see the butterfly exhibit at Frederick Meijer Gardens, an indoor arboretum and garden center, but I was pretty much not into it, even though I haven't seen this many butterflies in all the years we've been going. And my camera wasn't working correctly, so of course I got only a few pics! I finally told them I just had to go home and lay down or something, but then the oddest thing happened. I jogged over to my car because it was cold and windy, and I was amazed at how much that perked me up!

By the time I got home 15 min. later, I was really feeling much better and decided to dress to go out and run, despite the fact that rain threatened again and it was extremely windy. But I felt like I had to do something. It was going to be a long evening otherwise, and I knew I would be beating myself up all night if I didn't do something before the day ended.

Surprisingly, the run went well, even though I was still a little tired, and running into the wind elevated the heart rate enough that I ended up walking for a minute each of the 3 times it happened. When I got home, I found I was trapped in my running jacket--the zipper was completely jammed--and after about 20 minutes I was able to get it unzipped enough to force over my head. So then I hopped on the bike before I changed my mind completely, finishing up 45 min. later and glad to be done! And only missing one scheduled workout.

Hopefully this week goes better and our weather warms up again. I have some long workouts ahead of me!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

WEEK 2 HALF IRONMAN TRAINING DONE
On schedule for this week:
  • Monday--strength training;
  • Tuesday--45 min. swim; 30 min. run. I swim 1 mile, which is around 42-43 min. and call it good enough; my run usually is slightly longer, so it evens out. Tuesday was also the first track day since December.
  • Wednesday--cycle, 45 min. This is accomplished in one of 2 ways: either a spin class or 45 minutes on the trainer. Right now I am opting for the trainer because its just one less morning I have to leave the house before 6:30 am to go to the gym. Wednesday night is family night, so there is no working out at night. Thus, no outdoor bike (even if it were warm enough!).
  • Thursday--45 minute run; 30 minute swim. This was again a wonderful run. Everything was clicking. I felt great. I wanted to keep going. But I held myself at 53 minutes, including walking. The swim was 3/4 of a mile, right around 32 minutes.
  • Friday--1 hour cycle, 90 rpms, small chainring. Again, this is on the trainer for convenience and obvious reasons. Its a good way to catch up on shows I've DVRd that I would miss otherwise.
  • Saturday--1:15 run; 45 min. swim. In past times, this would have been hard, especially after a night of a household of family members, a nice (if I do say so myself) dinner (pork tenderloin in burgundy wine sauce; garlic mashed potatoes; mushrooms in brown sauce; brocolli; salad; hot bread; too much wine; mint brownies). Somehow I managed to finally get up on Saturday, sleeping in until it was light out which is amazing in itself, getting breakfast for the hoard, and finally dragging myself out the door around 11:15, with just enough time to get the run in, fix something for lunch, head to the pool for my swim, and then pick up all the grandkiddies for a night at grandmas. I'd like to say the night was uneventful, but getting only 3.5-4 hours of sleep that night, tending to a 6 week old baby all night, a 9 year olds' temper tantrum at 11 pm, and then 2 other baby wakeup feedings in the night, I think I did okay. You never forgot how to be a mom.
  • Sunday--2:30 hour bike. I again dragged Don out on this ride with me, thinking how lucky AGAIN I was getting to ride outside. The temperatures Saturday climbed to 57 degrees, with the promise of the same Sunday. However, that was not the case. When I woke up at 6:48 with a crying baby, it was cloudy and cold at about 38 degrees. The projected temperature was "mid-50s." Ha! If it reached 50, I would have been pleased. Instead, it was 47 when Don and I finally hit the trail, with 13-20 mph winds out of the east. Great for the ride out, with us averaging 15-16 mph, and me in the easy gears. The ride back, however, was directly into the wind, with a crosswind to boot, with me averaging--with hard work and gritting my teeth--of about 11.3 mph. I was jubiliant when I reached 12 or 13 mph, and I was also pretty glad when I finished that I hadn't talked Don into riding farther, because to have done that would have been that much more torture! The wind and cold were brutal. My nose is still raw from wiping it every couple of minutes on my gloves--2 pair fortunately--and yet I got sunburned and winburned at the same time. It was NOT pleasant the second half of the ride, but I pretty much blocked out the discomfort, numb toes, unrelenting wind and cold to finish the ride in 2:28 for a total of 30:62 miles. Again, nothing stellar, but like I said, the wind was brutal.

All in all, I was pleased with my accomplishments. Naturally, I worried and fretted the whole bike ride about my ability to do a half Ironman in early June, but I will say at this point in the year, this year I am twice ahead where I was last year; more than quadruple ahead what I was 2 years ago; and light years away from where I was 3 years ago, so I would say I am feeling confident.

Its early in the year. I have A LOT to accomplish yet.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

SPRING TRAINING--NO PARTYING HERE
We had another legal practice group "meeting" last night after work, to celebrate St. Patty's day is more likely.
Either way, now that I'm "in training," the partying stops here. Yesterday it was a 2200 yard swim in the morning with a 30 minute run planned after work. The weather again was outstanding--71 degrees when I left work. I'm telling you this is a treat--have to take advantage of it any way I can.
Don and I headed to the track, my first track workout since last December. Nothing hard was planned, just a footstrike count, and fortunately I was okay (15 second count, need to hit 21 or more). The other part of the workout was simple: eight 30-second surges, with 90 seconds recovery, or until the heart rate monitor stopped beeping. I was finding that the only way to control this was to walk for 30 seconds after the surge and then jog easily until the next one was to start.
We were joined on the track by a few others, as well as a large group from one of the local running stores. I know they meet 3 times a week but forgot they might be there. It was a pretty big crowd and I was starting to worry about getting overtaken by a herd of runners, but they went on the road for a 2 mile warmup before heading back to the track, and by then I was almost done.
What is annoying about these people is I know they had a planned workout; however, the track is at a public school, yet they completely blocked all lanes near where they were meeting up, like it was for their private use, causing us to have to run around them rather than them moving. Rude and thoughtless. (What's crazy about this is these people PAY for these group runs. I know they probably get some coaching on the side, but I've found with these types of groups that if you are slow or new, you often get left behind quite soon and are left floundering on your own anyway.)
The workout again was one where I could have gone farther and really had to control myself to stop and keep to the program. My walk breaks to get my heart rate down are taking less time, and when I restart I feel good, not like I wish I could just be done. The only thing that caused the heart rate to go higher was the surges, and I pretty much expected that.
For those not familiar with heart rate training, while it sounds like it is tedious or hard to do, it really is something you need to get used to. And you need to get used to the fact that if you go out of your comfort zone, you will be going over your heart rate limit and your monitor will remind you. That's okay for speed work, but doesn't help you progress on a daily basis. They always say you have to go slower to go faster, and while I've always known that, I'm now starting to see how it works. If not faster yet, then farther still feeling good.
Time to break out the new running shoes though. The old ones felt great in Cancun on the running path, but now running on cold concrete they aren't so comfy, and the area on my hip that reacts to worn shoes first is starting a mild flareup, telling me its time.
I've been spared a trial on the first week of June, leaving my options for which half Ironman I will do a little more open. However, trial is rescheduled for later in the year, just when I had another event planned, so I can only hope this thing settles.
Today's workout was a 45 minute ride, which for me is on the trainer. While I don't mind the trainer, I am getting a little tired of taking the bike off and putting it back on every time. Today, that process was complicated by having trouble getting it lined up to lock it in, resulting in wasting 15 minutes of workout time. I can't have this happen all the time. I have thought about this before, and Don mentioned it today himself, about getting a high tech spin bike for home, and after today I'm leaning closer to that idea. Ideally, however, I would prefer to just get a new bike and leave my old one on the trainer, but unless a lawsuit I'm involved in settles and I get a judgment and payoff, I will probably wait. (Whoever thought triathlon was cheap??)
No. 2 daughter is coming home to visit this weekend, to see the baby and attend a cousin's wedding, so I'm sure I will be more than busy with a houseful of people. But somehow, the workouts have to get done. Good thing everyone sleeps in and I don't, because I see that as the only way to pull this off.
I'll catch up with you all later. Have a great rest of the week!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

FIRST OURDOOR RIDE OF THE YEAR
And it was the perfect end-of-winter day. Week one of 12 week HIM training done.
On the schedule today was 2 hours riding in zones 1, 2, or 3, and trying not to go into zone 4 as much as possible, but still riding a rolling course.
That's a lot to ask of the first ride of the season, but somehow? Got it done! I really couldn't believe it.
The temperatures were predicted to be at least 50 degrees, and in this climate, 50 degrees or more at this time of the year is a heat wave. And for some reason, 50+ degrees in the spring is a WHOLE lot warmer feeling than it is in the fall.
Despite the spring-like temperatures, Don and I still dressed like we were going for a winter run: tights, headband, gloves, 2 shirts, jacket in addition to the bike shoes and helmet.
We debated where to ride, since so many of our bike routes are along the river, and the river has been high since the first of the year. I argued with him that the White Pine Trail route was at least partially under water; he disagreed. However, with me as the driver today, that argument became moot and I went to an alternate parking spot, other than the park. And sure enough, once we started out, we could see that all the low lying areas were still seriously flooded. "Okay, you were right." Of course, was there any doubt??
Riding in zones 1, 2, or 3 for me meant not going over 145 heart rate. And surprisingly I found that easy. Granted, I wasn't riding at any stellar pace, but it is early season and I know with time my intensity will build, but for now it was just going to be an easy, enjoyable ride on a glorious March day.
Everyone apparently had the same idea we did, about getting out and enjoying the warm day, sunshine, and fresh air because honestly I have never seen so many people, families, dogs, skateboarders, rollerbladers, strollers, wayward children, walkers, bikers, runners, etc. on this route ever! Of course, going in mid afternoon you are just asking for trouble with the crowded trail, but today all was forgiven, since everyone was entitled to enjoy the weather, and I would put up with it for today.
I couldn't remember how far this route was, and after a while started worrying I woudln't reach my 2 hour riding goal, but that fear was put to rest when we reached the turnaround and were at around the 1+ hour mark. As it turned out, we rode 27.81 miles in 2 hrs. 8 min. Somewhat slow but okay for early season, and within all my allowed zones. I'm pretty sure I wasn't riding this far last year at this point, so I know I'm ahead of last year's fitness level.
Have I said how much I love this training program I'm doing?? It is ideal for me: 12 weeks to a half ironman distance race. What I love is the fact that the weekday workouts are low intensity for the most part and are pretty consistent, with the weekend workouts building on time/distance over the 12 weeks. Perfect for me since I work.
Saturday's workout, for example, was a 1 hour run and a 45 minute swim. Since I have been doing a base-building program for the last 2 months, it was easy peasy!
Saturday was also a very busy day, however, with the run, swim, and appointment to get my hair done (necessary!), massage, and then grocery shopping. I pretty much had to keep on schedule or risk being late or running behind, so I never gave it much thought as to what I had to do working out, except I will say now that my swim was about 30 seconds faster than the last time I did a 1 mile swim. I can't explain why I swim faster after a run workout, but I almost wish the triathlon was set up differently: run, swim, bike. That would work a whole lot better for me!
I would really like to make a decision on which half IM I am doing, but that will have to wait until tomorrow to see if a trial will go as scheduled for the Monday following both races I would like to consider. And I need to figure out my later season races, but for now, I am waiting until tomorrow!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

SOMETIMES THAT FIRST STEP OUT THE
DOOR IS THE HARDEST...


This week was the beginning of my 12 week Half Ironman training program. The workouts are patterned after my base training workouts from the last two months, so they are easy enough the first few weeks. This week the training schedule called for:

  • Monday, strength training; (done)

  • Tuesday, swim 45 minutes, run 30 minutes; (done)

  • Wednesday, cycling 45 minutes; (done)

  • Thursday, run 45 minutes, swim 30 minutes; (swim done)

  • Friday, cycling 45 minutes;

  • Saturday, run 1 hour; swim 45 minutes;

  • Sunday, cycling 2 hours.

I prefer to do my workouts in the morning, and on the days when I run and swim, I prefer to do the longest one in the morning. That way it doesn't feel like all I do is work out, go to work, work out, come home, eat, get ready for the next day, sleep. (Although that's pretty much it some days!)


The hardest part this week so far has been the running. After last week's vacation time running in the warm weather and sunshine, this week its back to reality: cold, dark, rainy, snowy, blowing, etc.

For Tuesday's short run, I had planned to run outside, and the weather late in the afternoon, although gloomy and drizzly with rain, looked like it might hold out for a short while. No such luck. As soon as I got out of work, it was pouring rain. So back to the treadmill. I did a short speedwork routine, but held steady for the first 20 minutes and managed to get through it mentally. But the cardio room is in the process of updating and still has no air flow or fan to keep it cool, so the temperature is almost always in the upper 70s or almost 80 degrees. Great for heat training, but it is starting to get to me. So my plan was to hopefully get outside for Thursday's 45 min. run.

But Thursday came and it was just too cold for my mind to wrap around getting out there in the dark besides: around 18 degrees, with a windchill of about 6. So I opted for the treadmill, getting up earlier than usual to get to the gym in the hope of getting a treadmill early and then even more hopeful of having time to get in my swim so I had my evening free.



So as soon as I step one foot on the treadmill, bam! A fuse blows before I can even get started. The guy next to me, running about 7 min. miles, about flew off into the wall from the machine stopping so suddenly. I was ticked off because I didn't have any outdoor clothes, and now it meant I would either have to fight for a treadmill after work and sweat to death inside or run out in the cold. I did decide to do my swim, so all was not lost.


All day I watched the weather, hoping against hope I would be able to get outside. The sun came out and stayed out. And with daylight savings, it would still be light until after 7 pm, so unless I wimped out--and I am at the point where I cannot--I would run outside. And like I said, the sun was out, so that was a plus.

I hurried home from work to find Don getting ready to go out to rake in the yard. "Go run with me instead," I urged. So we bundled up in layers, because even with the sun and almost no wind (a rarity) it was still only 25 degrees. (I love how the weather report always says something like: temperature, 25 degrees; feels like 27. I really don't see how if it is 25 degrees and there is no wind it can feel warmer than 25 degrees. Makes no sense to me.)

As usual, when I run after work, my legs feel heavy and I feel out of breath easily. Its just a lot harder for me to run at that time of day. We ran about 3 blocks before getting a red traffic light and I was relieved to stop and catch my breath. Then I suggested we walk for just a minute. We started running again after a brief walk and it was feeling easier. When we came to the next crossing, we again walked momentarily after the light and went on our way. Then as luck would have it for me, Don saw a friend of his outside cleaning up his yard so we stopped again for a couple of minutes to chat and that seemed to pull me out of my slump. After that, I felt pretty good and we continued on until Don started having some problems with his back and he decided he was going to walk back home. I walked with him for a minute and then went on my way.

Remarkably, I found myself pushing along without wanting to stop. I don't know what it was but I continued on for the full 45 minutes of the scheduled run as well as a few more minutes to make up for the walk breaks and felt like I could have gone on longer. I even ran up a hill without stopping and picked up the pace for the last couple of blocks, something I haven't felt like doing in longer than I can remember.

Maybe it was being able to run more frequently last week, maybe it was the fairly mild, if not cold, weather, or maybe that heart rate training I have been doing for the last 3 months is finally paying off. Whatever it is, I felt great.

When I got in the house, my cheeks were bright red from the cold, but I can't remember when I've had a more enjoyable run!

The next challenge now is that most of my bike training over the next 12 weeks is more than likely going to be done on the trainer. We have a small window of opportunity this Sunday for an almost 50 degree day, so if it comes to that, and the winds are down, I will attempt to get outside Sunday. Otherwise, if I'm confined to the house, I have gone ahead and purchased a Spinerval DVD, Hardcore, a 3-disc set with up to 5 hours of training. Five hours on a trainer right now is mind boggling, but if it gets the job done, that's what I will have to do.

Hope everyone has great weekends planned--workouts or maybe celebrating St. Patrick's Day? Enjoy some green beer!

Sunday, March 08, 2009











CANCUN ADVENTURE







Some of you have probably been wondering just where in the world I was on vacation and now you know it was Cancun.


Our trip started Sunday, March 1 with a cancelled flight! After rushing to the airport, as is normal when traveling with Don, we got there to find out our flight through Memphis was cancelled. We, along with dozens of others, were now being rerouted through Detroit. Much as I think the Detroit airport is one of the nicest, I wasn't thrilled with starting our journey there. But there was a perk attached--we flew first class! I'm starting to rethink my policy on flying as cheaply as possible after going first class. Of course it was only the Detroit leg, a whole 34 minutes' worth, but long enough to give me a taste of better things out there!



When we arrived at our gate for the next leg, direct to Cancun, we found out it was delayed! I couldn't help think we would never get out of Michigan. We were told it would be at least an hour if not more, so we went to get some breakfast, way down the terminal, about 30 gates away, figuring we had plenty of time. We were just finishing with our breakfasts when we heard our names paged for final boarding! What?? It was only 10:10 and we were told our flight wasn't even boarding until 10:52. Somewhere something changed and we missed that memo. So we raced to our gate, glad for the people movers which really do move you twice as fast as just plain running. They were just getting ready to close the door to the boarding ramp when we got there, with me balancing "the purse," a cup of coffee, and another carryon bag. Then of course we had to cram our way into our seats, which weren't together. And also by then there was no room in the overhead bins for my carryon, so I had to cram that under my legs the whole 3+ hour trip. (My biggest pet peeve about flying is that people abuse the overhead bin policy, just so they don't have to check any baggage.)



So finally we were on the way, 2 hours later than planned, but finally getting away from the 17 degree weather we were having at home.



However, I was a little dismayed to hear that it was cloudy, windy, and 69 degrees in Cancun. What is up with that? I paid for hot! I wanted hot and sunny! It didn't matter too much what the weather was because by the time we got there and went through customs and immigration, it was already 4 pm, now 4 hours later than expected. And windy was an understatement. If I didn't know better, I would have been worried about a hurricane blowing in. As we would learn, wind would become part of our daily experience for the next 6 days.



We booked this vacation through an online travel company, and I was worried every day after hitting the submit button that we were going to get ripped off. I had called and confirmed everything verbally, however, so felt somewhat more assured. But still, you never know.



As it turned out, we had a very good experience using this company, and by midweek I finally figured out why it was so cheap and how these things worked. Without knowing for sure, my guess is that we pretty much got our hotel for free because the daily room rates were $255 a night for a standard room, and multiply that by 6 and you get more than we paid individually for airfare and room. I think they get you to the hotel and then try to sell you excursion packages, like loss leader items in retail stores, which probably then make up for any loss on the hotel charge.

We didn't fall into this trap and we did not do an all inclusive for a few reasons. First, all inclusive added $500 or more to each of our total prices, and while that isn't much over 6 days, it does limit us to eating all our meals at the hotel in order to get our money's worth. Second, we only eat 2 meals a day when on vacation--late breakfast and dinner. And we don't drink ourselves into a stupor every night, so again, we felt like we would not get our money's worth of that $500. And third, same with the food--we don't do the all you can eat thing even at a buffet. We eat what we want and that's it. And we wanted to sample local cousine.


The first evening it was so windy and cool that we walked around a little exploring but were so tired we actually were sleeping before 10 pm Cancun time, despite the howling wind. I'm not kidding, it was so windy, the wind howled all night. I woke a couple of times and it was quieter, but without earplugs I'm not sure I would have slept much because of the wind.



Day 2 I was awake by sunrise and when I stepped out onto the balcony discovered it was still windy and cool. Very windy and cool! Only 57 degrees we found out. We decided to have breakfast at the hotel and then take a walk to explore some, battling the wind in the process. You can see the cloudiness and by what I'm wearing you can guess it wasn't that warm.






One thing about Cancun, and many other Caribbean countries I'm sure, is all the street vendors pestering you to buy something, and in this case it was taxi drivers and agents trying to get you to take a ride somewhere or go on an excursion somewhere, neither of which we were interested in. In fact, we discovered that day just how easy it was to take a bus just about anytime and anywhere, all for only about 50 cents a ride. But it was always a wild ride! I don't know how they maneuver those beasts through all that traffic going that fast but we never saw any accidents.




We also decided to make a trip to Walmart that day to get some things needed that we weren't sure where else to get. We didn't know where Walmart was, but the Route 2 bus went there so we hopped on. Apparently just about everyone goes to Walmart at some point, since the busses were filled each time we rode somewhere with people either coming or going to Walmart, locals and tourists. And the Cancun Walmart is pretty much the same as the ones in the states except everything is in pesos! It took me a while to get over the sticker shock of pesos as opposed to dollars until I learned to convert.



After our Walmart adventure, we were both ready to go sit by the pool and swim for a while. We still hadn't located the beach where we were supposed to be able to swim, but there was always the pool. The only thing that kept our hotel from being perfect was the lack of beach access, since many of the beaches were wiped out when Hurricane Wilma struck in 2005. And many of the beaches looked like this--beautiful but rocky.









So instead we decided to just head for the pool and relax.





The hotel had two very nice pools, but the water was freezing! I wasn't sure if it was from the cool weather and constant wind or what, but one time in was enough for me! Don loved it cold, but I had come for the warm waters of the Carribbean and wasn't going to settle on the pool entirely. While the pools were lovely, they weren't designed to swim laps. I was starting to worry I would get no swimming in this week until I discovered by accident where many people from our resort were going to swim--next door at the Dreams resort. We couldn't use their lounge chairs but we could sit on the beach and/or swim.






It was perfect, a roped off area even, but beyond that a sort of natural breakwall where the surf broke. Since it was so windy every day, it was always a red flag day, but this little area was fairly calm.



One decision I made about this year's vacation was that it was going to be just that--a vacation. No schedules, no alarm clocks, no crowds, and no rocking boat day after day. I don't want to knock the cruise we took last year other than to say it wasn't what I had hoped for. This year, however, was different and was exactly what I had hoped for, just too short!


So here's how the rest of our days went: get up with the sunrise, since it was hard to sleep much later with the light coming into the room. Our room faced east, so each day we were greeted by a sunrise and this lovely view.


After catching up on news from the internet and e-mails, we got dressed to run. There are two nice wide running/biking/roller blading/walking paths that go for miles, marked out at .5 km along the way. I was worried about it being too hot, but that only happened one day, since with the wind all the time the morning temps stayed cool. Still, it was shorts and singlets every day. Can't complain! And I ran every day but Monday with no aches or pains or problems. All that warm weather and sunshine has to be good!


After our run, we showered and went down to breakfast, and sat looking out over the ocean. So beautiful!


After breakfast, it was pool and margarita time! I can't tell you how great those tasted sitting out in the sun relaxing!



After lounging for a few hours, we would make our way down to the swimming beach next door. Don does not like salt water, but I don't mind it and actually feel it has restorative powers in it. I love the water, can't get enough of it, and swam laps back and forth in the roped off area every day but Monday. It was like swimming with a big salty pretzel in your mouth, but didn't bother me. And when my goggles leaked, once I got over the initial salty stinging of the eyes, I was amazed that my contacts were so much clearer. Saline you know!





A couple of days we used the gym and did weights, stretching, and core work before swimming, so we never slacked on our exercise regimes.

We usually ate dinner early since we didn't eat lunch. We ate at the hotel and local places as well as a couple of the chains. We did not like Margaritaville, although my food was great. Everyone there wanted to push Tequilla shots on you the whole dinner, and we just wanted to be left alone! We weren't here for spring break. It should have been obvious we weren't college kids.


It also should be noted that no where we went to eat did they ever offer you water with your meal, and most places only served bottled only if you asked for some. Tequilla on the other hand flowed freely every place it seemed!


As for excursions, like Xcaret, the Mayan ruins, dinner cruises, swimming with the dolphins, etc., all things recommended we do, we decided against all that. I decided all I wanted to do every day was run, swim, relax, drink Margarits in the sun, work on my tan, read, and relax some more, and thats pretty much what we did. Most of the excursions required a whole day--get on a bumpy bus early in the morning and be out in the hot sun with people we didn't know or want to spend time with for the next 12 hours. I think I'll just go to a travelogue if I want to see the Mayan ruins!


All too soon, our paradise vacation was over and we got to make that delightful trip back home again to all the wonderment that is home:








Friday, March 06, 2009

INTERESTING ARCHITECTURE OR SCENERY
Since blogger is extremely slow uploading pics today, and I simply MUST get outside, here are just a few pics from around the hotel area where we are staying, as well as some in the hotel.
























Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Tuesday, March 03, 2009