Waimanalo Pumpkin Patch!

img_3622I absolutely love October. Even on the island, October means the wind and waves pick up, the weather cools down, and the rains come down. It’s perfect weather for hiking and, with enough rain, the Koolau’s weep with plentiful waterfalls. It’sΒ awesome.

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In the spirit of fall, we headed to Waimanalo Country Farms’ pumpkin patch. Nestled between the sea and majestic Koolau mountains, the farm sits on an idyllic plateau perfect for pumpkin-patching and photo ops.

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Bama had a great time picking out her own mini-pumpkin! If you’re in Hawaii during the next month, you’ve got to go!

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The four of us ended up taking home aΒ ton of pumpkins. Thankfully, my friend brought this hand wagon to lug them through the farm.

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Waimanlo Country Farms is famous for its delicious Nalo-Made Lemonade. I got a Li Hing (a local spice) Lemonade in this super cute, reusable jar.

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We lugged our pumkins up to the sunflower patch, which is up on a little plateau and right below the mountains. Amidst all the sunflowers, you can even see a glimpse of the ocean on the opposite side.


We also found a few activities, but the gaint pumpkin beer pong game was definitely our favorite.

 

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Honolulu Marathon 2016!

This past Sunday I woke up bright & early to take on the Honolulu Marathon. The start line was a quick ten minute drive from my apartment, I didn’t have to hop on a plane, and I know the course all too well. The Chinatown – Waikiki – Kapiolani Park – Kahala Loop is the favored long run course for anyone and everyone on the island training for any and every marathon. I know the hills, the heat, the downhills and ebb and flow of the concrete jungle the course winds through. However, I still didn’t exactly feel ready – or all that enthused – the night before.


I trained hard and heavy for the first three months in preparation for my Marine Corps Marathon I did in October. Since then, I’ve barely even hit the pavement aside from a ten mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving and a few easy paced five and seven milers here and there. And because I didn’t really care, and figured I’d struggle anyways, I decided that going wine tasting with some friends in Kailua and then downing a few beers at my boyfriend’s office Christmas party was a great idea, because f*ck it – why not?!


Well, surprisingly, it all worked out fine. The race was totally ok, albeit a bit painful. I’ve been extremely lucky in that my other marathons just flew by in a blur. Miles blended together and I felt like I flew through them in batches of five relatively unscathed.


This marathon was different. For the first time, I felt each and every mile. I felt like I actually did run a full 26.2, exactly, to the step and second. For the most part, I hated it. I never bonked or hit a wall, but I never soared through a single stretch of the race either. It was slow, grueling, and packed with people. It was hot and muggy without even a semblance of a breeze. I spent the majority of the race bobbing and weaving through a thick crowd since the Honolulu Marathon apparently doesn’t believe in corrals. I spent quite a bit of it biting my tounge as well, and keeping my temper in check as I was cut off, stepped on, and physically pushed by cute little old ladies and their sharp, bony elbows.


Regardless of all of these facts, I had a fantastic time. I realize it makes no sense, but blame it on the runner’s high – no matter how miserable the race, we always want more. It’s the feeling at the end of the marathon that runners remember most vividly, even though it’s a teeny fraction of the time we spent suffering to get there.

The Honolulu Marathon will never be my favorite race, and I really wouldn’t recommend it. However, it’s in my city and on my turf and it’s impossible not to do it each year I’m still on the island. So, most likely, I’ll do it nextΒ  year with the same lackluster attitude and general ambivalence and inability to simply stay away.


Plus, the medals are pretty cool πŸ™‚

Happy racing!

Nikki

Whistle Fit Pet Tracker Review + GIVEAWAY!


No offense to my boyfriend, but our puppy is my favorite workout partner. She always wants to get out and play – whether it’s a long hike, a quick run, or some sprints on the beach. Heck, she’s stoked on just a walk! We workout together a lot. So when I heard that there was a pet activity tracker that I could test out, I was stoked! PLUS, I GET TO GIVE AWAY A WHISTLEFIT TO ONE LUCK READER – ENTER HERE!

 

The Whistle Fit Pet Activity Tracker came in the mail, along with a cute shirt and sunglasses for me and a ball for Bama. She went nuts when the package came because she somehow knew the ball was for her. While we played fetch, I noticed there was something rattling inside – puppynip, maybe? Whatever it was, it’s now her very favorite ball.

The pet tracker itself is easy to install on the leash, but it was a little big for our pup. She’s a toy Australian shepherd, and only about 10-12 pounds. I’d definitely recommend a different model than the one we got, as it was way too huge for her. But, it did stay on the collar just fine and she didn’t seem too bothered by it. The entire package included aΒ charger, power cord and adaptor, and collar attachment for the device itself.

We downloaded the app and played around with her at the dog park and left it on for a few days! The pet activity tracker syncs with your phone to let you know your pets location and activity level. It was really cool to see what she was up to! And fun to track her as we went on a hike together and played at the dog park.
The device is super durable and waterproof to handle puppy adventures, and the battery lasts for a long time so it’s easy and convenient to charge. The Whistle Fit also has options for automated medicine and feeding reminders, but we didn’t play with those options too much since our pup doesn’t take any medication and is on a solid feeding schedule.

All in all, we give it two paws up and five stars! My dog is the light of my life (again, no offense to the boyfriend …) and I’m happy to be able to keep a close eye on her health and activity.
The folks over at WHISTLE FIT were kind enough to give me a discount code for my readers!Β Use code WHISTLEFIT for 30% off until Wednesday, November 23rd!

PLUS, I GET TO GIVE AWAY A WHISTLEFIT TO ONE LUCK READER – ENTER HERE!

 

Waimanalo Pumpkin Patch!


The other day I realized that October is almost over. My favorite month of the entire year has almost passed me by without me even realizing! Between a new job and schedule, a new apartment, and soccer and marathon training, I haven’t gotten to enjoy anything spooky, scary or pumpkin related. Heck, I haven’t even had a pumpkin spice latte! Fail.


When I found myself with an empty, stormy Saturday not suitable for surfing or hiking, I immediately took advantage and dragged my bf and our pup to the pumpkin patch. I absolutely love waimablo, nicknamed “God’s Country” for its astounding beauty between turquoise seas and at the foot of the majestic koolau mountains. 

So we headed to Waimanalo Country Farms for their adorable pumpkin patch. It doesn’t just look old school and country – it is authentically old school and country. From a lemonade and sweet tea stand to a homemade pumpkin cannon and rickety hay ride, it’s the real deal.


Bama was absolutely thrilled by the hay fields and animals and was all smiles the entire time we were there. A lot of the activities are suited for families with small kids, so we stuck to wandering through the giant sunflower fields and picking out the perfect pumpkin.


We picked our way through the patch and found our pumpkin – perfectly round and plump, but with a flat face ideal for carving. I was thrilled to take it home under my arm and had a great time absorbing the overall cuteness. 


We went to the beach across the street and found this rope swing too! I couldn’t have asked for a better Saturday. 

Maunawili Falls Trail Run


I’ve been seriously lacking on my training plan. A week off turned into three weeks, which is now four, and I have an XTERRA Half Marathon at Kualoa Ranch next weekend and a full marathon in DC at the end of the month. I’m pretty sure I trained wayyy too hard for the first two-thirds of the plan, and fell of the wagon for the home stretch. Or maybe I just got tired/bored/over it.

Either way, I’m staggeringly unprepared for both of my upcoming races. Especially the one lurking just around the very close corner of next freakin weekend. Anyways, I found myself with a Friday afternoon off right near Maunawili Falls, a fun, muddy trail through the windward jungle to a winding river, swimming hole, and waterfall.


I quickly jumped in my car and took the winding, narrow road to the trailhead. The drive itself is gorgeous; all hanging vines, chirping birds and golden sun rays breaking through the dense green everything. I changed out of my coaching gear and put on my clunky hiking boots and took off on a slow jog toward the trailhead.


I wanted to jog/run through the majority of the hike to ascertain how a trail race might be different than on eon the road. Since it’s my first time – EVER – I have absolutely no clue what it will really be like. I’m assuming a lot less people and water stations, a lot less clear course markers, and a much cooler, calmer, and more serene experience. I’m also assuming that it will be more physically difficult to run the same distance on irregular terrain that a flat, smooth road.


About a half mile into the trail, I realized that the physical effort was much more profound than a road run. I was jumping, climbing, slowing and stopping, picking my way through muddy patches and across rivers and over and under fallen branches and trees. Yes, it was more difficult and hilly than I had hoped. But it was so much more fun, peaceful, and personal. I kinda loved it so much I would go every single day if I could.


Out of breath, hot, with no water or wind – I said to myself in between pants, this could really be a thing for me. I DIG this.

We’ll see if I still feel that way after XTERRA – but for now, I feel like I’ve healed my broken relationship with running just by taking it off the road and into the jungle. πŸ™‚

Happy Running!

Nikki

Hawaii Poetry Slam

I have been the worst poet ever for the last four or five months. I love poetry, and there’s a special place in my heart for the live stuff. It’s raw,Β it’s real, it’s incredible, and pretty astounding how creative and eloquent humans can be. When I share my poems, I feel like I’m not just spewing out words or repeating something I’ve forced myself to memorize by repeating 123452345Β times. I’m sharing my heart, my thoughts, andΒ  my soul. I’m going to the place and feel of what my poem is about and taking the entire audience with me. It’s a very deep, unique, inexplicable thing.

The Hawaii Poetry Slam happens once a month at a seedy little dive bar that I absolutely love. Why did I not go for five months? I have no fucking clue.

Anyways, this month I actually WENT – and I even shared a poem. A short, sweet, deep piece I’ve been sitting on for way too long.

It felt terrifying and incredible to be back on stage and so vulnerable and open. I feel as if this beautiful little poem that chose me to manifest itself in was finally off my chest and out in the world to be heard and appreciated. It’s a lot like letting a balloon disappear into the clouds; yes, it was my balloon originally, but I made the conscious choice to let it go to wherever it chose.

 

I’m so happy I went. I love the venue, the audience, the poets, the vibe, the love, the sharing, ALL OF IT. I will absolutely be back next month to share more of the madness that goes on inside of my writer’s head.

 

Travel Tuesday: Mt. Olympus Hike


I expected to be writing a super cool post about my awesome travels around Europe with my family, which I would be getting back from just about now. Instead, I didn’t go anywhere – the Europe trip I’d been looking forward to all year became the Europe trip that wasn’t. My mom tore her Achilles tendon, my sister had knee surgery, and my dad injured his kneecap – all within a week. Apparently, this trip just was NOT meant to be.


Seriously, that really did happen. Don’t believe me? My sister sent me this of all of their boots chilling at home together in collective injured non-travelness.


Since I can’t travel, I decided to cram some extra adventure into my life on the island – in the form of beach time, hikes, and  a spontaneous trip up to North Shore. My favorite adventure, though, was a wet, cold, slippery hike up Waahila Ridge Trail to Oahu’s Mt. Olympus peak.


It was one of those hikes were everything went wrong; we left too late, picked the worst possible weather, and struggled to slip and slide up muddy slopes. Mt. Olympus usually offers stunning, panoramic views of Oahu’s south and east shorelines, but it was so cloudy we couldn’t see a damn thing. In fact, it felt as if we were walking on mist itself, the ridge breaking out just above the crown of the clouds.


It was freezing cold and we drudged through mud and sideways, slightly torrential rain. We got to almost the top and the rain picked up so much that we were climbing up a river and were forced to turn back. It was nearly impossible to grab onto the ropes, since they were slick with rain and wet and mud.


We left so late in the day that we walked back the last third of the ridge in the dark. I slipped and fell on my ass half a dozen times on slick tree roots that I couldn’t see because the sun had set and were out of light and luck.


Yet, somehow, it was insanely fun and memorable. How is it that the worst times are often remembered as the best?