Often times when on vacation you tend to lose focus on your goals, however, one way to stay on track is to plan ahead, both meals and activities. This past vacation was part vacation but primarily for my daughters national dance competition so there were days that I knew that I would basically spend just sitting and would not have access to many healthy options. Planning ahead was going to be important so I didn’t completely blow my training, especially since I am still recovering from an injury resulting in bruised ribs. We would head down to Wildwood, NJ late Monday morning and arrive mid-afternoon. After checking in to our motel that was an efficiency unit complete with stove, refrigerator, and pots & pans we headed over to the local food store.
At the store we bought fresh fruit and vegetables for snacking as well as purchased breakfast foods such as whole grain cereal & Silk almond milk. For snacks and lunch we bought Greek yogurt, almond butter & strawberry Polaner All Fruit and canned chicken. There were a few other items purchased that were not necessarily “healthy” such as Tostidos and salsa but this is vacation after all. We returned to the room, put the groceries away and headed out to explore the area we were in.
During the trip I was able to run on the beach, which is one of my favorite things to do while at the beach. Early morning runs are not only a great way to start the day, but to clear your mind and really enjoy the beauty of the shore. The freshly tilled sand, the sound of the crashing waves and the beautiful sky all make for an amazing workout that doesn’t even feel like one. I personally enjoy running barefoot along the shoreline, however, there is a lot of broken shells and other sea items that wash up that you need to be cautious when running so many runners do opt to run a little higher up on the packed sand with sneakers on. I actually stepped on a shell on my last run that would cause my foot to swell and be quite uncomfortable, but I love the feel of the sand and periodic water on my feet so I take my chances even though this is common running barefoot.
On my way back to my motel the last beach run I did, I was on a very tight schedule as my daughter was dancing that morning and I had to be back to the room to get her ready at a specific time. I was in a zone and made the mistake of not watching my surroundings so I was not too sure how far from the motel I ran or if I passed it on the way back yet or not. The good thing is Wildwood Crest beaches have the street names on the back of the lifeguard chairs so I decided to run up higher in the freshly tilled sand vs. the shoreline to navigate my way back. Although I could have easily went back by the shoreline once I determined where I was, I decided to keep running in this area as it worked my muscles much differently than running along the shore. Running in warm dry sand is much more difficult than cool wet packed sand so it proved to be a great training session.
Each day we spent time walking up & down the long boardwalk and while I did have an ice cream cone and a few pieces of fudge, I really don’t crave much of your typical boardwalk food. Many people don’t realize that by walking the boardwalk vs. taking the tram car you are burning calories and still getting somewhat of a workout it as long as you don’t blow it by gorging on all of the treats offered throughout. One day I did stop and have pizza, but I opted for a white slice with broccoli to at least get some veggies in. Also, try to avoid sugary drinks, such as lemonade, as there is an excessive amount of sugar in it. If you must indulge, try to limit it to only one.
Another activity that we did that was quite the workout was we rented a multi-person bike and rode all around the boardwalk and town for 2 hours only stopping to take a few pictures. There were 3 of us on the bike, including my daughter that didn’t pedal, so it was a nice leg workout. Good thing I do all of those spin classes so that my legs were conditioned to handle it with ease. The best part of that activity was I was in control of the steering and brakes so we were going at a pretty decent speed getting in a real workout.
Some other fun things that I did while on vacation was ride the roller coasters and other amusement rides as well as took my daughter and some of her friends to the waterpark at Morey’s Piers. While there, not only did we enjoy the slides and pools, but they had a cargo net crossing, rope traverse and a Tarzan swing. This was great because not only did I get to practice for my upcoming race, but I had the pleasure to show 4 10-12 year olds how to complete these types of obstacles and by the end, they were swinging and climbing like they were ready for an obstacle course race so of course that made me happy.
During this trip I was also able to check off an item on my “bucket list” and went parasailing. The best part is my daughter wanted to do it with me so we got to experience it together. We arrived at Atlantic Parasail and we were all a little nervous not knowing what to expect. We got on the boat and were off! There were a few other groups with us, two would go before we did. They strapped us in, then up we went into the sky. The view was amazing and definitely a feeling like I didn’t expect. So quiet and peaceful. We saw stingrays directly below us and dolphins jumping out of the water. On the way down, they asked if we wanted to be dipped into the ocean before returning to the boat and we said yes. My daughter enjoyed it so much she went up a second time with my aunt who was with us. What an amazing experience.
During the actual dance competition in the Convention Center, we would bring in snacks and water so we didn’t eat too terribly. We also took advantage of long breaks and went for short walks on the boardwalk. One day we were in front of the Wildwood sign and decided to do planks and pushups on the stationary balls. I even had some of the kids doing it too. I also would do push-ups and burpees on the shoreline when I had the opportunity to do so. On the last day there, we walked around the cobblestone streets in Cape May and visited the lighthouse and Cape May beach. Overall it was a very active and fun trip that didn’t derail my training, but rather gave me an opportunity to switch up my routine, which is very important in any training program.