9-29-14 and 9-30-14

It’s now almost the end of October, but I feel like I need to wrap up my month of September posts. This will be short and sweet because I have a race to recap!

Monday, 9-29-14

Today Orlando and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary!! Well we did our celebrating during our trip to Fort Ticonderoga.

In the morning I met my friend Mary for coffee and a walk. We strolled around the college for 2.48 miles. Then I hit the gym for some strength training. Later in the day I snuck in a 3 mile run with my friend while our boys were at swimming practice. We made it back in to watch them in their diving class. The afternoons go by so quickly. Once home it was shower, dinner and bedtime for Carlos. I took a short nap before going to work.

Tuesday, 9-30-14

I went to one of my favorite Vinyasa yoga classes at 9am. Then I met my friends Kimm and Kaye for a long overdue coffee date at my favorite coffee shop in town. We chatted for about 3 hours before any of us realized how quickly the time had passed. We took a walk around the college before I had to run and pick up Carlos. It was such a fun, relaxing day. Carlos and I had a couple of hours to spend together before I had to go to bed before work.
That’s it for September! I thought I could blog daily for a month. Ha! Not so much. It’s much harder than I imagined. I don’t know how you do it Biz!

Day Dates

My husband and I rarely go out on dates. It has a lot to do with my schedule. I work nights and I work every other weekend. It also has to do with the exorbitant cost of babysitters these days. What the heck happened to $2/hour? When I am lucky enough to even find a babysitter the minimum is $10/hour.

My husband is a mason and he gets laid off most winters. We plan for it financially so we don’t stress about money, but it tends to take an emotional toll on the two of us. I think it’s the lack of day structure that makes my husband a bit loopy after a few weeks. Needless to say neither on of us can wait for work to begin again.

We decided to take a different approach this year. For one I have stepped down off my martyr throne and now graciously accept any offers to drive Carlos to school, do other errands or jobs around the house. We are also enjoying some much needed quality couple time together. Since we don’t have too many Saturday night dates we are now taking this opportunity to go on day dates. I have no idea why we never thought of this before.

So far my favorite day date was snowshoeing at Northfield Mountain. It was a first for both of us and it was so much fun. Northfield is a small town located in north western Massachusetts. It was established in 1723 and straddles both sides of the Connecticut River.

The trails were nicely groomed, it was a good day for a winter activity, not too cold and no wind. Oh I have to interject here that it was also my first outing in my new snow pants. I splurged and bought a pair of black North Face snow pants. I decided that in order to really enjoy winter and all the fun winter outdoor activities then I need to dress appropriately. I have never had great winter gear so I’m always cold and uncomfortable. No more! These pants were amazing; warm, perfect fit, not bulky and they looked decent. According to my husband the view from behind was rather pleasing! They weren’t exactly cheap, but I suspect I will have them for years to come.

Back to snowshoeing…it was a blast. We tore up the mountain once we got the hang of walking with the funny shoes. We followed the map to the summit. There is a reservoir on top with pretty views all the way into Vermont. We took in the view and then back down we went at a speedy pace so we could head back to pick up Carlos from school on time. It was a workout for sure, but it was so much fun it didn’t feel like work.

Enough talk. Here are some photos of the day.

Mozambican Mountain Man
Scenery along the way
Nearing the summit
We made it!

Taking a break to admire the view
Taking a break to admire the view
New snow pants and a view of Vermont in the distance
New snow pants and a view of Vermont in the distance

If you have never snowshoed before give it a try. It’s like hiking in the snow. It’s fun, refreshing to be out in the crisp winter air and it’s great exercise.

Weigh in day: Week 4

I’m just going to get right into it. I weighed myself this morning and I was shocked.

Weigh in #4 = 162

Then I left for my solo turkey trot. I ran 10 miles at the reservoir this morning. I did the same thing last year and I’ve decided to make it a tradition. I did a lot of thinking on that run. At first I was angry, angry at the scale, at myself, at my body. Then the anger turned into a string of justifications. I’m PMSing. I’m running more. I ate more than a few of the treats I baked last night for Thanksgiving including Mama Pea’s Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Balls and Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt. Vegan does not equal fat free, but it does equal delicious. Try them you won’t be sorry, but only try one or two then give them all away.

After being angry and blaming the weight gain on random things I started to calm down. In my comment on Biz’s Holiday Challenge update this week I wrote:

“OK so as far as the challenge goes, I’m feeling so unaccomplished. I weigh in again on Thursday, but honestly I don’t feel much different. My goal was to lose 10 pounds by the end of the year and I’ve done nothing but stay the same. I was thinking about my goal today. Was it realistic given that I’m training for a marathon? I do not use running as an allowance to eat whatever I want. However, I do realize that I need to nourish my body after it has run 10, 15, 20 miles. I try to be sensible about replenishing calories. I have maintained my weight throughout training and actually have lost 2 pounds since the actual beginning of marathon training.”

I probably won’t lose 10 pounds by the end of the year. That’s ok. I will lose it after the marathon. The scale is not going away yet because this is a challenging time of year. Food is everywhere and not necessarily healthy food. There is a party every week it seems between now and Christmas. I no longer see the holidays as a time to indulge and lose sight of healthy behaviors. I have worked very hard to maintain this weight that I am at for over a year and I intend on staying here until the marathon is over. If I end up losing a pound or two great. I suspect that the 162 is largely due to a bit of water retention and if I’m correct then the scale will return to the 160 it seems so comfortable.

I may not meet my Holiday Challenge goal, but the challenge has helped me to meet other bloggers, stay focused on portion sizes, and be cognizant of what I’m eating despite all the miles I’m running. My weight loss journey is far from over, but at least I’m no longer waiting for it to end. I’m out there running and strength training, playing outside with my son, baking and cooking more and more healthy recipes that are whole food and plant based, eating a rainbow of colors and enjoying it. I’m happy, healthy and I have more energy than I have ever had before.

I am thankful for so many things in my life on this Thanksgiving Day. Here are my top 5:

  • My beautiful son Carlos tops my list. He makes me smile and truly makes me want to be a better person. When I run I do it for both of us. I want him to grow up with a healthy, happy Mom and I want him to know he can do anything he sets his mind to.
  • My handsome husband Orlando is next on my list. We celebrated 10 years of marriage in September and it has been wonderful. I love him very much.
  • Breaking my rib in September…weird right?! I know it sounds crazy, but in a strange way I’m grateful for the experience. It reminded me of how I take my good health for granted sometimes. It taught me to listen to my body and treat it with care. It also proved to me how incredible the body really is and how deserving it is of excellent nutrition and fitness.
  • My job. I’m lucky to have a job and even luckier to have a job that I really like. I have to work tonight and I don’t even mind. I’m looking forward to seeing the girls I work with. We generally have an enjoyable time no matter what.
  • Running. I promise to not get all sappy about how running has changed my life so I’ll just leave it at that!

I am also very thankful for those of you who have been visiting my blog and leaving kind, encouraging comments. Thank you so much. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Bermuda Part 2

Enough about broken bones. I’m beginning to sound like a train wreck. On to something much more pleasant.

Our second day in Bermuda involved lots of walking. A cloudy, foggy morning gave way to a very hot, sunny afternoon. We took a morning walk around the hotel and surrounding area and came upon a lighthouse.

Lighthouse in Bermuda

Unfortunately it wasn’t open to tour but the views were breathtaking.

View of Bermuda

After our walk we enjoyed a gourmet brunch buffet at the hotel’s restaurant Windows on the Sound. It was quite the spread. There were Belgian waffles, pancakes, eggs and omelets made to order, a variety of breakfast meats, cereal, every type of bread, pastries, fresh fruit, a smoothie bar made to order, and my favorite the oatmeal bar with tons of toppings.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves so much so that we didn’t need lunch.

We decided to take the hotel’s ferry to Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda. We took the trolley down to the dock. There was a fun group of ladies also waiting for the ferry. They were celebrating the 50th birthday of one of the women. Giggling they asked if my husband would be so kind as to take a photo with the birthday girl. She was attempting to take 50 pictures with 50 different men. Apparently she even got one with the pilot in the cockpit! Orlando said it was fine as long as I was ok with it (how sweet). Of course I thought it was hysterical so I gave the thumbs up. They were also kind enough to take a photo of Orlando and I.

Orlando and I on the ferry dock

The ferry ride took about 25 minutes. It was so peaceful and relaxing. Here are some photos from the boat.

Boats in the harbor

Hamilton in the distance

The boat docked just below our hotel’s sister hotel the Fairmont Hamilton Princess. From there we explored Hamilton for a couple of hours.

Orlando in downtown Hamilton

The day grew warmer and warmer and all we wanted to do was get back to the beach. Unfortunately the ferry was not returning to our hotel for a few hours so we decided to take a bus back. We lounged on the beach the rest of the day until it was time to get ready for dinner.

We decided to go off hotel property for dinner to check out the Royal Naval Dockyard. Once the Britain’s largest naval base outside of the UK, the Royal Naval Dockyard was built in the 1900s. The buildings have been restored and now house stores, restaurants, museums and more. It was already dark by the time we arrived so I don’t have any photos.

We ate dinner at Bone Fish Bar & Grill which came highly recommended by the trolley driver and a few others we met in our travels. It was well worth the bus ride there. Orlando had the Fish Bermuda Style which was described on the menu as “fresh catch of the day, pan fried with Bermuda’s specialty Black Rum sauce, topped with Bermuda bananas and roasted almonds.” I had one of the dinner specials, Mahi Mahi marinated in a Pinot Grigio sauce then grilled with pineapple, mango salsa. Both of our dishes were delicious, but Orlando’s literally melted in your mouth. For dessert we had to try the Bermuda Rum Cake with Rum Raisin ice cream. Split between the two of us it was just enough.

We strolled around the dockyard after dinner hand in hand. Yup just like a couple of teen agers! We were sad to see the weekend coming to a close, but we couldn’t wait to get back to our little guy.

On Sunday morning we walked down to the beach before having breakfast at the Windows on the Sound Restaurant again. Check out was at noon which was perfect because our shuttle to the airport was expected at the same time. We got to the airport and made it through customs effortlessly. This was nice because we wouldn’t have to go through customs in the US. The airport was very clean, and had a cute restaurant/bar. Orlando watched soccer while I shopped for a little gift for Carlos. Then we were on our way home.

Carlos and I hugged almost the entire ride from the airport back to my sister’s where he spent the weekend. I was so happy to see him and it was clear that the feeling was mutual. We picked up his things and then drove back to our house about an hour and 20 minutes away.

When I went to work that night I couldn’t believe that I had woken up in Bermuda!

Bermuda

My husband and I are celebrating 10 years of marriage this month. We have a really cute love story that I will share someday. We’ve actually been married twice on two different continents. I love my husband even more than I did 10 years ago.

It’s been a busy 10 years. We moved to the US in 2002. I went to nursing school about a year later. Orlando became a mason. We bought a house. I got pregnant and graduated nursing school shortly thereafter. I started work as a nurse. We were blessed with a beautiful baby boy at the end of 2006. We’ve traveled a little. We’ve been back to my husband’s country twice with Carlos. I have run two half marathons. Our little guy is in his last year of pre-school.

If I had to do the last 10 years over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. I love where we are and how far we’ve come.

We decided that we deserved to celebrate 10 years of marriage in a special way, just the two of us. We couldn’t take a lot of time off so we decided that a weekend get-away would be best. That meant we couldn’t go anywhere too far, but I really wanted to go somewhere new to us both. I came across a great package deal to Bermuda. Orlando loved the idea of going to Bermuda and so it was decided.

The flight from Boston was only one hour and 40 minutes. The airport in Bermuda sits right on the coast and overlooks the brilliant blue ocean.

This is Orlando on a rock wall across from the airport in Bermuda

We arranged for transportation to take us to the hotel. It was awaiting us and we left within minutes of arriving. Some of my initial observations as we were traveling to the hotel were how clean the country seemed, every bus stop had a trash bin and a recycling bin, the people were very friendly and polite, the houses were all brightly colored in a variety of colors, the roads were very narrow, and the water was the most gorgeous shade of blue I had every seen.

We arrived at our hotel in about 25 minutes. We stayed at the Fairmont Southampton. It was spectacular by our standards. The service was impeccable, the staff friendly and eager to assist, the trolley service was extremely convenient and the room was spacious, clean and comfortable.

The Fairmont Southampton on a foggy morning

Despite a dreary weather forecast according my weather app, the skies were sunny and the temperature was hot with a side of muggy. Our hotel had its own private beach just a few minutes away. We checked into our room, changed into our bathing suits and headed straight to the beach.

Orlando on the hotel beach

We were starving though so after a quick dip in the water we walked up to a restaurant we noticed on the roadside. So we had lunch at Tio Pepe’s. I enjoyed a simple Greek salad.

Tio Pepe's Restaurant

One thing we learned very quickly was how expensive food is in Bermuda. It is a small island and much of its food must be imported from the United States and elsewhere.

Upon returning to the beach we noticed a path leading to the left of the hotel beach so we decided to explore. It led us to Horseshoe Beach which boasts the famous Bermuda pink sand. When you’re standing upon it the sand actually looks like regular sand, but from above it glistens a soft pink. In researching this phenomenon I learned that the pink crystals are the pink or red shells from microscopic insects, foraminifera.  The foraminifera are found living on the underside of reefs and the sea floor. When they die, their shells are brought ashore by the currents and as the waves roll in they are pushed onto the beach.

Horseshoe Beach

We did a lot of walking. There were cliffs that provided spectacular views of the surrounding beaches and rock formations jutting out of the ocean.

Bermuda coast

Our first day in Bermuda culminated with a delicious dinner at the hotel’s Italian restaurant, Bacci. We took the trolley around to the back side of the hotel where the restaurant was located to make our 8pm reservation.  It was a cozy restaurant with a romantic feel. We each had a glass of Riesling and treated ourselves to the Antipasto bar which was loaded with roasted vegetables, cheese, crackers, fresh fruit, pasta salad and of course a variety of Italian meats. I piled my plate with vegetables drizzled with balsamic vinegar. They served a bread basket complete with hummus, an entire bulb of roasted garlic and an olive tapenade spread. We could have easily stopped there, but our eyes were bigger than our stomachs and we decided to split a pizza with fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. The pizza was fine and I had a couple of slices, but I hit the antipasto bar more than once! Instead of desert we ended the meal with fresh fruit from the antipasto bar.

"If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you." Winnie the Pooh

Being the 85 year olds that we really are, we were in bed before 11! It was a great day though (despite the broken toe). Since this post has grown longer than planned I will be back with Day 2 of our Bermuda weekend.