Just the Vacation I Needed

Vacation seems like a good reason to skip out on one’s usual workout routine. Unpredictable eating, sleeping and activity schedules can make fitting in what is usually routine more challenging than usual.

After a few weeks in a row of unmotivated trips to the gym and sloggy runs, I thought I was ready to take an exercise hiatus. I was in an exercise funk, forcing myself into every plank, push-up and mile. Getting ready to leave for a week of vacation in the Outer Banks, I figured it would be the perfect chance to take a few days off; sleep in, skip a few runs and come back to Boston refreshed and rejuvenated.

In retrospect, I don’t think I was tired of exercising as much as I was just tired. I sometimes take for granted how busy the days are and how I can no longer sustain myself a full capacity with only 5-6 hours of sleep every night. This beach house vacation with no set schedule came at the perfect time.

The first 2 days I went out for a run. Determined not to get frustrated by my pace, I ran with just the pedometer function on my watch to guide how far I ran, and not really how fast. Maybe it was the change of scenery, a good night’s sleep or a good podcast to listen to that made Monday’s run the most enjoyable I’ve been on in a long time.

My run Day 2 was the same, if not a little less humid. I knew I shouldn’t run 3 days in a row, so when offered the chance to go to a Cross Fit class with several friends, the timing couldn’t have been better. I’d never been to Cross Fit, but how better to experience it for the first time than with friends, including others who also had no idea what they were getting into. According to our Cross Fit veteran, Christiane, this was not the best (ok, maybe it was closer to the worst) class. But the class was challenging and I finished sweaty and sore, so in my book that’s a win.

Still amidst a tropical storm on Wednesday, some of the house decided to take on a morning power yoga class. The class was interesting and challenging and left me sweaty and stretched out, which was exactly the goal.

With the sun shining again on Thursday, I was planning on heading out for a run again, until half the house decided to do a “Deck of Pain” workout, a la November Project. Five of us set up in the front yard with a deck of cards and a speaker blasting high energy tunes. If you haven’t done a “Deck of Pain” workout before, each suit represents a different exercise. For us, clubs meant burpees, diamonds led to squats, hearts ended in sit-ups and spades meant push-ups. The number of repetitions is based on the number on the card drawn. The workout took about 20 minutes, and that’s just about how long my legs and arms kept shaking afterwards.

My plan for not exercising on vacation went nothing like I had thought. I worked out more consistently than I would in a normal week and head back to Boston still sore in places that haven’t been sore in ages. Yet I still achieved exactly the goal I had hoped to – returning home more motivated and ready to enjoy some fall running, and whatever other workouts the season brings.