Friday, August 28, 2015

Building Sand Castles In A Thunderstorm

Photo Credit: Life Is Cray

One of my major goals for losing weight, apart from being able to wear cute clothes, was to become more active.  Mostly so that I would be able to keep up with my toddler. However,  as I shared my thoughts with you in My Lifestyle Change Is Changing My Life, this journey has yielded so much more than I could have ever anticipated.

I am doing things and going places I never thought I would do or try.  There is a power and sense of self that comes from commanding your body physically which gives you an unshakable confidence.  I never knew that because I've never been active before and I love it.  Each new challenge leaves me wanting to do more and more.  Oddly enough, that power and confidence, are pushing me beyond my fears.  Fear of being uncomfortable.  Fear of animals and insects and ultimately fear of being out of control.

I started out walking, then outdoor boot camp - which taught me how to get down and dirty.  I loved it.  Then, because of some complications I ended up in the gym.  Not my favorite spot, but I enjoy lifting weights and met my super hero trainer there.  Now I'm back outdoors, at least until it gets too cold, cycling, hiking, running and loving life.

I told you in I'm So Tired Of Counting Calories that I'm done with dieting.  It was a tough decision, but the right one for my peace and health of mind.  Yes, I still want to lose weight, but I don't want it to be at the center of my existence anymore. Bye, Bye!

I've had an awesome active vacation.  Volunteering to sweat and looking forward to it has proven to me that I am truly living an active life.  If I had to choose amongst the highlights, and there were many,  I would have to chose building sandcastles at the beach in a thunderstorm with Robin.  It took me a minute, but I was able to fully commit. I had to first push past my personal prisions: 1. Not wanting to get my hair wet and 2. My dislike of the sticky sand all over my body.   I got down in the sand with Robin and we dug, filled buckets with sand, fetched water, built and knocked down castles for hours. The light but steady summer rain was so warm and beautiful. While holding hands, running into the ocean to get some water for the umpteenth time, Robin squealed, "Mommy, we are having so much fun!" My heart melted and tears of joy sprang into my eyes. I would have never been able to give her this type of joy if I hadn't embarked on this journey.

My vacation is now over and I marvel at all that I got to do.  I already have a an adventure picked out for next year.  I found this local company called Bermuda's Hidden Gems which does eco-tours across the island.  I want to take their Summer Excursion next year.  Here's what I want to do:

I want to see this view for myself

Jump into Blue Hole

Trek through Tom Moore's Jungle

And swim in a cave.
There I have set my intention and put it out there.  Now to find a swimming class.  Lord help me with the creatures.  You know I don't do lizards and frogs.

Do you think my friend Mandy, from Paddle Boarding In Paradise, is up for more adventure?

How has changing your life changed your life?

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Paddle Boarding In Paradise / Fit Faith Link Up # 4

BBlissful: an adjective meaning full of, abounding in, enjoying and conferring bliss.

Last Christmas I was home for the holidays and my good friend from way back, Mandy, had mentioned to me that she has been Paddle Boarding.  Her excitement was contagious and she promised to take me out if I wanted.  I decided there and then that when I returned next summer I would take her up on her offer.

Fast forward seven months and I'm back in Bermuda.  Mandy and I are texting each other for meet up times and locations for the big paddle board experience.  I'm pumped.  Then she texts me the location.  Devil's Hole.  Wait, what? I was entertaining at the time and I said to my guest, "Does Devil's Hole have sand? I don't recall a beach down there."  "NO! There's no sand down there", my guest replied incredulously laughing!  I texted Mandy back - Maybe now would be a good time to tell you that I'm a non-swimmer?! Crickets!!!

For the non-Bermudian's reading this post I'm from Warwick, Bermuda, where the southern Atlantic Ocean kisses the beautiful white sand beaches.  I grew up walking into the ocean with the very rare occasion of jumping off the rocks or dock like most kids from other parts of the island.  There is a friendly debate as to which experience is better and my position is the beach lol!

Me at Shelly Bay Beach before the phone call.
So because of this beach advantage (lol, you like that jab!) combined with my living abroad on and off for 30 years I have not had the need, per se, to swim in open water.  Yes, I've had many swim classes growing up, but I was never proficient at it and I didn't have a fear the water so it was never an issue.  I guess if my life depended on it, I could muster up a doggy paddle or something, but for the purposes of swimming at Devil's Hole, in Harrington Sound.  That is a negative!

So we opted to change our location to Shelly Bay Beach. A wonderful little inlet that I swear at high tide you could walk out two miles and the water would never come above your hips.  That was more my speed.  I was happy and confident.  I was about to have a new experience.  Mandy told be later, that when she got the text that said I couldn't swim she was dumbfounded.  Firstly, who grows up on an island and can't swim? Secondly, who would want to go paddle boarding if they didn't know how to swim?

Once at Shelly Bay we met up with another of Mandy's friends who would be joining us and we got the boards off the car. Then the call came in.  Miguel, my paddle board guide and instructor for the day, was calling to say he could not make it to Shelly Bay.  Could we double back to Devil's Hole?  Ummmmm... Surprisingly the only question I had was does he have a big girl life jacket. 

The title pic was the view I was greeted with when I arrived at Devil's Hole.  Absolutely gorgeous. Mandy and Lisa got set up in the water and headed out to meet up with Miguel's wife who was learning as well.  Miguel and I headed inside to handle the business end and for paddle board instruction.  We talked about the life vest and I decided against it. We headed back out to the water where he showed me how to sit on the board and paddle and off I went.  

Me focused and following instructions

My instructions were to keep looking in the direction you are heading.  If you look down you are liable to fall.  To say I was focused would be an understatement.  So when I heard Mandy at a distance saying something about a life vest I I shouted back that I decided to forgo it.  I took a quick glimpse in her direction to see her paddling towards me, but I had to turn back and focus.  I was beginning to wobble.  I could now hear her calling out to Miguel about the life vest.  

I think it was only because of the urgency in Mandy's continuous request of the life vest that Miguel truly realized that I did not swim but that I could not swim.  I remember him paddling out to me and calmly sitting down on his board next to me and gently asking me, "So if you were to fall off this board now, what would that look like?" LOL!  My response, "I'm going down."  Things suddenly got serious.  Everyone sobered up, but I must give it to Miguel.  He was direct yet calm and took control of the situation.  It was only then that I was able to look back and realize how far out I had paddled.

Miguel to the rescue. Far from shore.

Looking back, I think everyone thought the day was a bust. However, I was oblivious and very much looking forward to the next step.  Miguel made a plan. Mandy and Lisa were to paddle on either side of me over to the island while he went to get his boat.  What island?  I kept asking him, which probably added to his concern.  When I saw what he was referring to and how far away it was I was shocked because I thought it was the other side of the sound.  Why he was getting his boat, I had no idea.  

Me trying to show you just how far away Trunk Island was and how far I peddled.

Off we headed across the sound peddling for Trunk Island.  Everything was beautiful, majestic and outstanding!  I don't have words for the beauty and the peace.  It was incomparable.  Someone mentioned zen and I would have to agree and add divine.  There were no nerves and no fear on my part.  I was taking it all in.  Disciplining myself to develop a level of fitness had allowed me this opportunity.  This is what it is all about.  In my euphoria I mentioned that I hadn't even prayed and Mandy broke out a prayer loud enough for us all to hear with lots of "in Jesus names" in it.  She covered us and every eventuality in that prayer. LOL!  Thanks Mandy.

As we approached the island Miguel returned on his boat and threw me a rope to tow me around to the back side of the island.  It was only when I missed the rope and immediately upon hitting the water it disappeared did I realize how deep the water was.  I caught that rope the next time and followed his instructions to lay down on the board as he towed me.  Thank God for the yoga I have been doing.

Getting a tow around Harrington Sound

The tow was fun and allowed me to relax and enjoy the amazing elements.  Again, gorgeous!  As we rounded the island we came upon a small beach and shallow water where I practiced standing up and paddling for more than an hour.  I fell in a number of times and even scared myself a few times, but I kept getting back up and trying at my own pace. Here is a clip of me standing for the first time.  At some points I was moving so slowly you might think the video froze, but no all is still working. LOL!

You can see more videos on my YouTube channel.

All in all it was a phenomenal day on so many levels.  Thanks to Miguel for his skill and wisdom.  I highly recommend him as an instructor.  If you are in Bermuda and would like to try paddle boarding or if you are going to be visiting Bermuda and would love to try it out you can email me for his details.  Miguel estimated that I had paddled approximately two miles.  I'll take that!  He also noted that the fastest growing demographic for paddle boarding is women.  Come on ladies, let's take it over.  Paddle boarding is a fabulous core workout and you feel your muscles working from head to toe. At one point I had to stop and relax my feet as my arches were cramping up from trying to stabilize myself while basically standing on water.

I did it!

Thanks also to Mandy for introducing me to paddle boarding and for being my guardian angel.  She advocated for fiercely for the life vest even though I didn't think I needed it.  You can see her in every pic near me in the water, making sure I was safe.  Even when I went under in the deeper water in my panic, I could hear her voice.  We had great laughs when the day was done, but she was serious about not having to make any disturbing phone calls to the Hubbs.  Thanks Mandy!

Paddle Boarding, I will be back as soon as I get the chance and a few swim lessons.

While I was searching around the internet for a good picture of Harrington Sound I came across this little bit information.  Trust me, if I would have had these facts, there would have been no paddle boarding for me!  Aleast not at Devil's Hole.

I wish you could have seen me after I read this.  I looked like a wide eyed, blank stare, emoticon.
"Bottom of the Harrington Sound is the lowest point in Bermuda. It's estimated to be some 70 feet deep near Devils Hole. Many once thought that the sound was part of a bottomless volcanic crater." ~ Bermuda Attractions 

Ignorance Is Bliss!

Would you have tried paddle boarding not knowing how to swim? Do you consult the internet for details before an adventure?

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Friday, August 14, 2015

What Is In My VACATION Gym Bag / Fit Faith Link Up #3
Photo Credit:

Hi Guys,

I'm still on vacation in the land of sun and salt water, Bermuda.  We, Robin and I, are having a great time visiting family, going to the beach and sleeping in the warm breezes.  All of that is great, but honey, it is some kind of HOTT around here.  You would never guess I grew up here.  Clearly my body has acclimated to being in constant air conditioning.  I'm not complaining, mind you, but I did need to take the heat into consideration when I packed for vacation this year.  

Apart from the normal things one would need for a vacation in the sun like a hat and sun screen I needed to bring a few other items.  Let's take a peek inside the bag:
  1. The Bag itself.  I tend to over pack so I have learned to create a limit by only packing what can fit in my gym bag.
  2. Sneakers: Even though I'm on vacation half mary training must continue.
  3. Reflective Vest:  Since the only reasonable temperature to run in is at the break of day I felt it was important for me to be safe so I packed my vest. 
  4. Heart Rate Monitor: The change of climate always affects me so one of the ways I try to monitor my expenditure is with the heart rate monitor. 
  5. Stretch Band: As I'm sure you remember all the problems I'm having with my hips and hamstrings during this training so I bought my stretch band to help me along.
  6. Oops!
  7. Head Phones: truly old walk-man style and decrepit that I have had since the turn of time.  Only one ear works, but why I don't throw them away I don't know.
  8. iPhone Holder
  9. Weight Gloves:  I'm doing Kettlebells for strength training while I'm here.
  10. Phone Clip:  I love this thing.  It is so versatile  and far easier to use than the arm band phone holder.
  11. Fanny Pack:  Let me not be shy about it.  Yes, I have developed a liking for the fanny pack since I started training for this half marathon.  Honestly, we need a little more when we are running those distances and this has been the most convenient way for me.
  12. Rash Guard:  The sun and I don't get along well and I can't stand sun block.  This rash guard is the middle ground for me.  Kayaking and Paddle Boarding this week! Can't wait.
  13. Camelbak: Since you know I"m always on the edge of dehydration I figured I better bring this puppy along for those long runs.

14. And last but least my new lover and bestie Foam Roller. Never leave home without it. 

Here is a pic I took along my long run this week. Stopping to enjoy the scenery helps with the distance. 

Do you continue your exercise routine while on vacation? What sort of extra goodies do you put in you vacation gym bag?

This post is in the following link ups:

Do you lack inspiration or have problems staying motivated?

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Welcome to this week's edition of the 'Fit Faith Link Up'! 
#FitFaith is brought to you by your hostess:
Stephanie of Team Fit Mommy 
and myself, Gina, of Mirror Watching.

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