swimming workouts

Girls Gone Wild in Tucson

I mentioned earlier that I was going on vacation; I went to Tucson for a friend’s wedding.

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Unfortunately Michael wasn’t able to go with me but my cousin Anna was up for a girl’s trip so that was good! We flew out of Portland early Friday morning for the holiday weekend and went up to Seattle (a quick 45 min flight), waited less than an hour for our flight from Seattle and then we were in sunny Tucson! The bummer? It was REALLY windy that day and the turbulence was truly awful. Nothing like feeling like you are dropping out the sky for 30 minutes to think “oh my god we’re going to die”…

We checked into our hotel, the Marriott right by the University–which I really recommend. It was a great location, right on the street car line (only cost $4 for a 24 hour ticket and the street car runs every 15 minutes), the hotel was pretty cool and our room was huge and had a balcony with a view. The interior of the hotel was also pretty cool looking:

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Our food schedule was a little screwy because of traveling. It was Friday afternoon, too early for dinner, too late for lunch. We stopped into Gentle Ben’s Brewing because it was right by the hotel and had outdoor seating. It was decent pub food. We split a salad and the giant pretzel and we each got a glass of wine while we tried to shake off the turbulent travel jitters and just relax a little.

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We had some time to kill before our evening plans so after that we walked around the University shops and did a little sightseeing.

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Anna wanted to take a nap (she wasn’t feeling well) and so I went down to the hotel pool to do some swimming. The wind had scared everyone off so I had the pool to myself. It was a small pool but large enough to swim some laps. I did about a mile, maybe a little less, in 40 minutes. Then went back up to the room to shower and change for the evening.

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My friend Christine was getting married to her fiance Jeremy and they were hosting a post-rehearsal dinner drink event at Reilly Craft. Anna and I ended up taking a cab there because we didn’t know the area well enough yet to risk exploring at night in heels.

Reilly was SO COOL. What an awesome place! If you’re ever in Tucson you have to check this place out. We wanted to go back later that weekend and really explore it but never got the chance. Dang it!

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Okay so Reilly is in a building that was apparently an old mortuary. The place is huge. You walk in to a super modern restaurant with high ceilings and exposed beams and brick and a chic white marble bar. Then you walk outside to the alley way and there is a super cool space with picnic benches, fake grass on the walls and ground, exposed brick and romantic lights.

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Then you walk to the beer garden, that is inside but completely open without walls. It had such an awesome vibe and I’m bummed we didn’t get a chance to explore the basement cocktail lounge!

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Anna and I ordered something small for dinner. I got the Ninkasi Tricerahops beer (beer from home) and probably one of the best salads I’ve ever had. Delicious greens with chicken, cranberries, some kind of toffee brittle, chopped green apple and goat cheese. It was divine and it hit the spot. Anna got the meatballs (I had one). They were really good. This place was excellent and I highly recommend it!

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We chatted with the bride and groom a bit and then decided to head back to the hotel.

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This time we were able to figure out the street car (it was like 2 blocks away) and took that back. We ended up using it for most of our trip and it worked well.

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Saturday we took it pretty easy. We had the wedding to go to in the evening. We slept in and then I went to the hotel gym for a workout. For some reason I just could not get my heart rate up (no idea why) but I was glad I got some exercise in!

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We decided to check out a local place for breakfast and took the street car to downtown (about 10-15 min away) to go to Nook. The restaurant was super cute–very modern and chic. We ended up sitting outside because HELL YEAH. We’re not in Oregon anymore! I LOVED that most everywhere in Tucson had outdoor seating.

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The outside patio was enchanting. It had Christmas lights, bistro tables with umbrellas (if you wanted them), big comfy outdoor couches, and there were a few hummingbirds flitting around the garden area.

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I got the BLTE: bacon over medium egg, arugula, tomato jam in housemade crumpet. It came with cottage cheese and Anna and I split a side order of fruit. It was one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had. It was messy and gooey and the egg dripped on everything but it was to die for and I could have licked the plate it was so good! Their tropical iced tea was fantastic.

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Anna got The Godfather Benedict: crumpet, prosciutto, arugula, poached egg, hollandaise, balsamic drizzle. I had a bite and holy cow was it amazing! She won at breakfast.

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We spent the rest of the day walking around 4th Street. It was a trendy area with bars, shops and restaurants. I’ll write more about that later. We did stop in for a “lunch” beverage. 🙂 Vodka and pineapple juice at the Surly Wench.

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Finally, back to the hotel where we spent the next three hours poolside lounging, reading, napping, relaxing in the sunshine!

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Stay tuned for more!

Water Baby and Wannabe Ironwoman

This is the Hawaii post about fitness! What a wonderful place to take your exercise outside. While the condo we were staying in had a gym and a pool I could use, I only used the facilities about twice because it was just too nice outside to be stuck on an elliptical everyday.

The Running

My first run in Kona was the first day we were there. I woke up early (time change messed me up for about a day) and went for a run to explore the area. I didn’t spend much time out there because we had plans as a group for the day and I wasn’t sure when everyone would be up and about. It was a good start to the vacation.

A few days later I went for a REAL run. I ran down to the road along the beach and explored the area. I checked out all the really nice beachside hotels, I ran through the tourist shopping area and all the way down to the docks where the canoes and boats set off. It was also the area where the boats ferried in people from cruise ships stopping in Kona.

My body felt good during my entire run. It made me wonder if the aches and pains I often feel running at home have to do with colder, damper weather? Who knows. All I know is that I felt like I was flying when I ran in Kona!

My last run of the vacation was awesome but kind of sad. The reality of leaving paradise hit me as I ran down to Alii Drive along the ocean. I couldn’t see myself living in Hawaii, but it was so magical visiting there. Each and every run or swim reminded me just how much I wished I lived somewhere with consistently decent weather. It really is sad spending all my time cooped up in the gym when I could be running next to this:

This was my favorite run because of how great I felt, how far I ran, and how I was able to end the trip with some happy running memories.

The Swimming

I never wore my heart rate monitor when I swam in the ocean. I have no idea how many calories I burned, but I didn’t really consider it exercise: swimming in the ocean was playtime for me! I always thought it would be scary or hard to swim in the ocean but it really wasn’t. It was pleasant. The water was warmer than a hot bath at the end of a long day. The waves were fun and made me want to learn how to surf. The salt water also did wonders for my skin. Here are a few photos and tales from my ocean swimming adventures:

Waialea Beach (Beach 69)

This turned out to be the winning spot for the whole trip and we ended up going back about 3 times. It was secluded and quiet with a perfectly soft, white sandy beach, some shade from the hot sun and hot ocean waves.

Before this trip, I’ve never been swimming in the ocean. People think that’s strange but growing up in Washington and Oregon doesn’t lend itself to that. The water and beaches here are freezing. Swimming in the warm ocean turned out to be the thing I loved most about Hawaii.

There was no fear of swimming in the open water, just happiness! Every beach we went to on the trip, I ended up swimming “laps” in the ocean. It felt wonderful and made me so happy.

Kahalu’u Beach Park

This beach wasn’t super great as far as “white sandy beach” goes, but it was by far the best place for snorkeling on our trip. Kahalu’u Beach was fairly close to the downtown shopping area and our condo. The water was warm and there were so many beautiful fish to see.

I also got to swim with the Green Hawaiian Sea Turtles! That was truly amazing. They were humongous, beautiful creatures and they were floating under water, eating the green algae off the rocks. I floated along side them and watched them eat.

A tiny green gecko also joined our little picnic on the beach. He jumped from from our blanket to our friend’s leg and then jumped onto my leg! He was pretty cute!

I would have gone back to this beach again simply for the snorkeling with turtles.

Kona Magic Sands Beach

This beach was postcard perfect. The small shoreline was stark white with hot, tiny sand and bright aquamarine waves and palm trees almost shading the beachcombers.


The beach was a popular one but not great for swimming or snorkeling because the waves were humongous and the tide was really strong. It was more of a “lay on the beach and then jump around in the waves to cool off” kind of a place.

It was also rocky along the water in places, mostly in the water where you couldn’t see it…which lead to some injuries. I cut the bottom of my foot on a rock and had no idea it was cut until later. Our friend Mike also cut his foot but it was a huge gash that did not look good. The little one scraped the side of his foot but luckily didn’t seem as bothered by it.

Despite the war wounds, we all liked spending the afternoon at this beach.

Mauna Kea Beach

This beach ended up being our back-up plan. We tried to go to Mau’umau beach but it was hard to get to with a 4 year old and a pregnant woman (rough, rocky trail down to the beach) so we ended up at Mauna Kea. It was a fantastic beach. The fancy Mauna Kea resort and golf course were right on the beach and there was a “guest only” section complete with lounge chairs and cabanas, and then the public side of the beach.

It was a bit of a walk from the parking lot down to the beach but the facilities were all really nice and the soft sand and big waves made it worth it.

I did a bit of snorkeling here but there weren’t that many fish in the area we were at. I gave up the snorkeling and went to swimming laps in the ocean. It was a lovely swim followed by snoozing on the beach.

This ended up being our beach finale of the trip. It was a nice beach to end on, although I wanted to spend more time swimming in the ocean. That is definitely the part of the trip I miss the most.

The last morning of our vacation, I woke up extra early so I had time to swim in the pool at the condo before packing and leaving. I was the only one in the pool that early and the sun had just come up maybe an hour before. It was warm but the cool part of the day and I enjoyed swimming outside in that pool.

It was nothing compared to the ocean, but it was a nice way to end my trip. One thing ticked off my bucket list: swimming in the ocean. Fantastic.

QUESTION: Have you ever been swimming in the ocean?