Sunday, March 29, 2015

The 5 R's of vacation

Seen on the run...this sign was at the entrance to someone's driveway!
Being the goal oriented person that I am, I approached this vacation no differently than I do anything else in my life. I've made no secret of the struggles my family has endured the past couple of months, and I wanted more than anything to make this vacation a great trip for all of us. This was the first time that I was nervous about a family vacation. I had high hopes that all this family time would help us reconnect. There were 4 other things I wanted to accomplish with this time away: rest, relaxation, recharging, and of course, running. While initially we were all really tense, as a few days passed, it looked that the goals would be met. The trip ended on a really, really pleasant tone, and I think as family vacations go, this one was a success.

Stay with me here.  I know what you're thinking. "Oh geez, here goes Wendy sharing her vacation photos with us". This post isn't really a recap of my vacation. Because who wants to read about that, right? Being a running blogger and all, I wanted to share how it is possible and actually beneficial to stay active on a vacation even when you are away with your family. The benefits aren't just physical. The old saying, "the family that plays together, stays together" became an internal mantra for me this week. Staying active can be a challenge for some of us whose spouses are more--umm--sedentary. But find something that everyone likes to do and you can make it work.

Ok...one sunset photo
Rest: We didn't make many plans for this week. Time passed by the pool, catching some rays. My oldest son and my husband spent time fishing off the pier behind the house. Early to bed, early to rise. Walks to the beach, a short 2 blocks away, at sunset to watch Mother Nature perform her nightly ritual. When the boys were little, they used to complain: "not another sunset!" Now they know it's just something we do. And on the way home, there's an awesome ice cream shop. We stopped there twice. One night I had a scoop a couple scoops of salted caramel ice cream with hot fudge on top. When I ordered it, the guy behind the counter said, "oh yeah....!" Yep, those were my words too.

Relaxation: That goes without saying... the setting of an island vacation just begs relaxation.  My oldest son really gave me a tough time the first couple of days we were here. I guess I was being punished for making him go on vacation. He was sarcastic and indifferent, no matter what I said. As the week wore on, he began to thaw. After getting bit by the kayak bug last summer, I rented 2 kayaks for 3 of the days we stayed here. The house we stayed at is on a canal, and I thought it might be fun to explore the canals. It turned out to be the best thing I could have done. Not only did kayaking keep us active, it was a great way to spend time with my family. Between the fishing and the kayaking, my son started to relax, exchanging the attitude for laughter at my dad's bad jokes, and finally going shell seeking with me the last couple of days we were there. I also kayaked with my mom and my husband. We explored the canals and took the kayaks out to the intercoastal waterway. I wasn't brave enough to head out to Tampa Bay, but maybe next year?

Getting him to smile for a picture would have been pushing it....
Recharging: I also was off work the week before we came to Florida, and that helped put work out of my mind. I didn't realize how burnt out I was before having the time off, and I feel much better and ready to return to my responsibilities. I don't blog much about food, but I really ate well this week. Maybe a little too well! One reason I like to travel to Florida is the opportunity for fresh fish and produce. I wanted to have fresh fish every day and I was able to do that. Sometimes we go to the fish market and buy fish to prepare at the house, other times we eat out. I made Key Lime Pie a few times too. Had a beer with lunch every day and wine with dinner every night. It felt great to eat light foods after all the heavy foods we eat during winter. Even though we really indulged, we did so much kayaking and walking that I didn't feel guilty at all.

Feeling inspired by the great studio class I took that day..
Every year, I take at least one class at the yoga studio on the island, and this year was no exception. This instructor is really amazing, and her class is a treat. This was a gentle flow class, and after all the running I did this week, I felt great after we finished.

Running: We runners always joke about how much more we have to pack since we bring our running gear on vacation! My shoes saw 26 miles this week. Last year I struggled with the famous Florida humidity, but it was a non-factor for me this year. I really enjoyed my runs. I strive not to let my runs interfere with family time, and so I get up with the sun, drink some coffee, and head out. By the time I return, everyone is just waking up. Since I've come here before, I already have running routes plotted out. I know where the bathrooms and the drinking fountains are located. Running in a tropical paradise is an amazing experience. There's so much to see and look at. I am always amazed at all the beautiful homes lining the beach roads on this island. The lovely tropical birds flying overhead. Tourists riding in those bicycle calliopes built for 4. Trying to pick out who are the real runners and the ones who were inspired to try running for the first time because it seems like a good idea in a beautiful place. The clown that tried to run me off the road. Oh and that post run cool off...

Felt great!
I don't run along the beach, though. I tried that in the past, and between all the people you have to weave around and the uneven surfaces, I really hurt myself one year. I save the beach for relaxing. And snapping running selfies.

Doesn't it look like I just finished a great run on the beach?

Reconnect: To me, this was the most important goal of the entire week. Keeping active was the key for all of us to reconnect with each other. My youngest son spent the entire time in the pool, and my husband and I played football and volleyball with him. I really think the key to engaging with teenagers is to distract them with activities. I had the best conversations with both my boys while we were doing other things. I'm really grateful that I had this week away with them. I hope the momentum continues forward. I really do.

Until next year...

How do you stay active on family vacations?

I'm linking up with Tara at ReadingNRunning for her Weekend Update! Be sure to head on over to her blog and see what everyone else has been up to!

62 comments :

  1. Looking like a wonderful vacation! I like the tree pose.

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    1. Every year I see those trees and want to do something fun for a photo!

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  2. Looks like fun. I love kayaking, too! We spent Christmas in Duck Key a few years ago with a rental house on a canal and got to make use of kayaks. Just this morning my husband and I were talking about buying one to use on the river and lakes near us in PA. And mmmm, key lime pie.

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    1. I think we're going to buy 2 of them for the summer. It's so relaxing!

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  3. This is beautiful! Our last "big" family vacation was a couple years ago to Disney (during the winter). Our oldest daughter would be graduating that spring, so we knew it kind of was our last big family hurrah for some time (with all three kids). We had a park-hopper for all five of us and made it to all four of the Disney parks in one (very long) day. We did mucho speed-walking.....hitting all the favorite rides/attractions at each place. Lots of pics. Lots of moving. Lots of fun. (and lots of sleep upon returning to the hotel!). Family vacations can be stressful if you try too hard to have "fun," so (like you demonstrated) it's best to just keep busy and the fun will happen on its own. Great blog post!! (and welcome back to the Midwest!)

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    1. The midwest welcomed me back with a blast of cold air, rain/snow, and wind. Reality. But I'm so glad we got this trip in. I suspect it may be our last big family vaca too. Kind of bittersweet.

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  4. I love the pic of you jumping in the pool! It sounds so relaxing...I can almost feel it. We did a big kids vacation this February at Disney. I totally get the "it may be the last time with the kids" thing. We are fortunate to get to go to the FL panhandle quite a bit. Even though it is so extremely hot, I enjoy running there and the beaches are gorgeous. We like to play Frisbee both in the water and on the sand. My husband and kids also enjoy playing football. Like you, I will run before anyone else is up. It's me time.

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    1. We've been to the Florida panhandle a few times too--St George Island. It's lovely, but in March, was a little cool. I'd totally go there in the summer, tho.

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  5. Oh my goodness, I LOVE your vacation photos! Especially the yoga pose and the cannonball, plus you look so strong in that last photo on the beach! I am glad that you had such a wonderfully engaging time with your family and I hope that your momentum continues, too!

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  6. Like you, I like to get up before anyone else and go for a run....get back when everyone is just starting to wake up.

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  7. Sounds like a great vacation!! You accomplished the 5 R's so that is an accomplishment in itself! It was good to hear that your boys enjoyed the time away, or at least got comfortable with it you got to spend quality time with them! Love the tree pic too! :)

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  8. Sounds like a great time. We usually do not plan any workout while on vacation, but will end up hiking or walking the beach for hours on end. I am like you in the fact that when I am near fresh fish, I can eat it all day long!

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  9. It looks like you all had a great time! Great photos! I like to spend vacation unplugged and tuned in to family and friends enjoying every moment.

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    1. It's so hard to come back to reality, isn't it?

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  10. I'm so, so glad you had such a nice vacation with your family, Wendy; what a great trip! Thanks so much for sharing these adorable pictures and for linking up with the blog this week; hope you have a great Monday.

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  11. ooh gorgeous sunset. Jealous of the shorts too! Enjoy all of your family bonding :)

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  12. Oh boy do I need a vacation!!! Thank you for posting though I am jealous you went were able to hang out by the water!

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    1. I love the beach. We went to Arizona one year and it just wasn't the same!

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  13. What a wonderful vacation! I could feel all the "R"'s just reading it! I am happy for you! :)

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    1. I hope to ride the wave for a while! We'll see how long it lasts.

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  14. Looks like you met all of your vaca goals this week! I know it can be very challenging to make a family vacation work. I have 2 teenage girls and a husband and we all have different ideas of vacation. You are right about filling it with activities to get their minds off things. I would so love the kayaking!!!!! Glad you got to get in your "Me" time and the pictures do look beautiful of the sunset. Enjoyed living a moment in your world, thanks for the share!

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    1. Vacationing with teens is definitely a challenge!

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  15. running + pool = perfection. i'm glad you had a fun (active) week with your family!

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    1. It was awesome. And there was plenty of rest too!

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  16. Post away when it comes to family pics from your vaca!! That's the good thing about your blog...it isn't just a running blog! I love that you keep it real, and am so glad you had a great vacation. <3 <3 <3

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    1. Thank you! And back at you...! LIfe isn't always perfect, but it's an adventure, right?

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  17. Vacations are a good fun way for me to try new things in new places. For some reason I am more adventurous when away from home!

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  18. Ohhhh, looks like an awesome vacation!! So glad you had a great time. Now welcome back to reality ;)

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    1. Only you will get this, but I had 27 patients on my schedule today! Guess they missed me at work....

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  19. It's so awesome to get to just relax and not really be obligated to do anything! :O
    I like the tree pose! :]

    P.S. Thank you for the sunset photo. :D It's gorgeous!

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    1. Yep, my biggest concern was what to have for dinner. That's pressure... :p

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  20. I'm so glad you had a good time, despite the teenaged attitude! And I'm glad you got some good weather!

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  21. Wow looks beautiful! Especially that sunset picture! I am going to myrtle beach with my BF this year ( we have gone the past few years) and I always try to run while I'm there. I like running on the beach but bobbing between people is annoying - you're right. I will be traveling in the next week or so and will be trying to stay active. I need to get in a long run while there but it is not the safest place. Sorry for the vague writing, I will be posting about the trip on my blog soon but it's a mystery/surprise ;) lol

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    1. I'm looking forward to your post! I didn't realize it isn't safe there. Be careful!

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  22. awesome vacation! and that last one is super important. Glad you were able to reconnect! :)

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  23. I just love this entire post. I almost feel calmer reading it. Thank you for reminding me the things that are really important in life. You seriously made my day!

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    1. Oh my gosh, thank you! I felt really overwhelmed yesterday when I got home from work, and reading this post made me feel calmer too.

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  24. Ahhhh! Could not agree more: vacations in paradise are the best. Soooo relaxing. How great your son started to thaw! Did someone say kayak? Yes please!

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    1. I'm alll over it! Summer can't come soon enough!

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  25. Great tips! I haven't been on vacation in forever but I'll keep these in mind for the next time I do :)

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  26. looks great! I love finding ways to stay active on vacation!

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  27. Staying active on family vacations can be a struggle. Finding things that BOTH kids will enjoy doing has it's obstacles :)

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    1. That is the truth. My boys could not be more different...

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  28. Love this post (as I always do) and your take on the 5 Rs! They are so important to remember and i'm glad you were successful in experiencing them all. Gotta love Florida and it's sunsets. Glad you had a great time.

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    1. I want to go back already! It's soo cold here!

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  29. Looks like a great vacation and you had it all covered with relaxing and running. Running at least once on vacation is a must for me. it just feels good after all that traveling.

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    1. Running in a new place is one of my favorite parts of vacation! It's like a reward, really, for running through winter.

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  30. Looks like an amazing vacation, I sooo need to get away and enjoy the five R's.

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  31. Sounds like you had great recharge and reconnect time! I am sorry to hear that things have been hard with your family hopefully the vacation was helpful. During vacations I love to bring along my running shoes and find a new place to adventure. i also love finding a new yoga studio to try out. Your warm weather running looks so amazing. So tired of the cold!

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    1. The vacation could not have come at a better time! I like to explore new places on foot too!

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