Training: Another Year, Another Adventure

20111231-194315.jpgI’ve been lucky enough to spend the holiday break in Hawaii. I’ve run three times — all relatively brief sunrise runs — and gone beach walking, kayaking, playing tennis and hiked over jagged lava rocks. I’ve also chased a 5-year-old boy, which might be the most tiring of all of my activities.

Lessons learned in Hawaii that might apply to life in general.

If it hurts, stop. Yeah, didn’t follow my own advice on this one. On my first day I went for a long beach walk. (Truth be told, I was searching for the owner of the footprint with the freakishly long second toe. Freakishly. Like, a full inch longer than the big toe. Never seen a footprint like it.) Anyway, during this walk in the soft sand, it appears that I strained something in the arch of my left foot, something that feels awful in shoes but is perfectly happy to be barefoot or, ironically, walking in sand. It took me three days to realize that spending lots of time barefoot actually made it feel better. I’m a little slow.

No matter what direction you go, there’s always a headwind. Ever been to Hawaii? You’re always running into the wind. Always. I’d observed it on my own, but it wasn’t until a guy huffed past me and muttered, “Always a f***ing headwind, every f***ing direction,” that the reality hit home. There’s always a headwind (real or metaphorical) in everything we do. Push through it. Unless it hurts (see above).

Drink more. Being in the sun takes a lot out of you. Being active in the sun can drain you to the core. Drink more. I’m referring to water here, but there’s something to be said for enjoying the occasional adult beverage, something I don’t do nearly often enough.

Shop at the local market for the ripest, freshest food. We hit both major farmer’s markets on the island — Kona and Hilo — and got some of the cheapest, ripest, best fruit that you could possibly imagine. Every meal included some combination of pineapple, papaya, apple bananas, rambutan, lychee or guacamole made from the largest, creamiest avocados I’ve ever seen. Best meals ever.

Make time for play. There’s nothing like a 5-year-old to remind you of the importance of play. Don’t let your life, your meals or your workouts start feeling like a chore.

Now I just need to remember my own advice as the new year dawns. What are your tips as we head into 2012?

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