Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Weekly Recap- Hawai'i Style

The last few weeks have been a blur with time changes and so many emotions running around.
Recap of Wed- Wed 1/15- 1/22

Today was the big day for traveling- up at 4am for my 6:30 flight, meet up with parents in Dallas, then 8.5 hr flight to Honolulu and a hopper 30 min to Maui. Exhausting day. I've flown first class once or twice before when the airline messed up and upgraded me, however flying first class on a long flight like this is a whole different story. Seats recline ALL the way back for sleeping. Champagne. meals. free entertainment.

Champagne or mimosa immediately after boarding 

My absolute favorite, everyone got their own samsung tablet to watch movies or play games the entire flight. On the way there I watched Rush, Now you See Me, and Steve Jobs

We have a layover in Honolulu where I ate the most expensive Burger King burger known to man, then had our short flight to Maui arriving at 4:30 or 5? Once we got the rental it was a 45 min drive to our resort and I crashed at the ripe hour of 6:30 while my parents checked out the rest of the grounds. I only had 2 hours of sleep night before and didn't manage to catch any zzzs on the plane. 

The day started off with my first sunrise watching from our balcony
Followed by getting to know my surroundings and going for a run. I was amazed by how difficult this 3.5 mile run was in terms of terrain, but I was giddy the ENTIRE time :) 

Looks like its going to rain, but in reality it just heavy cloud cover early in morning

Originally we were going to scope out the area where packet pickup is, but then we saw it was almost an hour away so we did some mini sight seeing based on what the ACTUAL PAPER map told us... haven't used one of those in years. 
McGregor Point 

No idea what is going on here

Rest of the afternoon was spent at our infinity tranquility pool (no kids allowed!) 

And I enjoyed my favorite local beverage 

Walking back to room from hotel- I can't believe this is my view from balcony every day! 

Night was capped off with fancy dinner watching the sunset and gorging food- skirt steak, kale salad, dijon fried chicken, spicy pork, and the best roasted corn on the cob I've ever tasted (think movie theater popcorn) 

For Christmas I gave my parents a few options of activities to choose from to partake in Hawaii that I found to be the best deals / got good reviews. They selected the sunrise bike tour.
Step 1: Get up at 2am and be ready outside waiting for a van to come pick you up at 2:45am. proceed to have van pick up the other individuals along the way before heading to their home base near airport (45 min drive)
Step 2: Drink coffee / eat pastries and wait around for the bus that has the other 15 people before making the 1.5 hour drive up to Haleakala National Park (top of volcano)
Step 3: Pray that bus driver doesn't drive off the cliff since its pitch black and it is the steepest drive (we went up to 9,700 ft from basically sea level) with a lot of hair pin turns.
Step 4: Find a good standing spot and wait about an hour trying to stay warm before the sunrise comes up
Step 5: take a ridiculous amount of photos as the magic is happening and hope some turn out 

We are ABOVE the clouds! 

Step 6: Hop back on the bus and make the drive down to 6700 ft elevation where we get prepped on how to ride the bikes, steer brake etc. 
Step 7: Try not to freak out that in 28 miles there are 29 steep hair pin turns and you're going at speeds upwards of 30 mph

Step 8: Finish on North Shore Beach and celebrate that you survived

Although it was a long morning (up at 2am, finished by 9:30 / 10am) it was a lot of fun. Sunrise was breathtaking and such a unique experience. The downhill bike ride was scarier than I anticipated mainly because you're braking the entire time and these are downhill bikes so they don't pedal real well. There were only a few spots you had to pedal, otherwise you're coasting / breaking. I wish we were able to take more photos along the way, but its dangerous to do it while riding so I'll have my mental imagery to tide me over l. I highly recommend doing a bike tour if you come to Maui because there is so much you get to see in a short amount of time. As with all activities, you'll shell out some $$, $125 (tax included) per person, but so worth it. 

Spent the rest of the day at the pool relaxing and then ventured out to town for local cuisine... we landed at Fred's Tacos 

Makes sense that the day before my race is probably the most action packed day we had... Took a run in the opposite direction this time and ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. I had raved about my run on the first day that mom decided to walk around and I ran into her on my way back.
On our way to packet pickup we stopped at spot to do some whale watching. How fun that we got to see the same whales in July while in Alaska... I wonder if they remember me?? (they travel from Alaska to Hawaii for winter) 

Eventually did make it to packet pickup in Lahaina where everything start to get REAL 

Stuck around for the art fair next door, posed with the Banyan tree, then had the most delicious burger right across the street for lunch at Cool Cats Cafe... voted best burger in Maui 10 years in a row- HIGHLY recommend 

After a lot of shopping we made our way to the Maui Brewing Company!!! We'd been drinking their beer all week, only fitting to check it out. 

#all the beers

Dad and I both got tasters- the entire edge of bar was lined with ice to keep the beer cold- how neat. My absolute favorite is the Double Overhead Imperial IPA.... best IPA I've ever had and its only available at the brewery (naturally) 

Highlight of the trip was in the gift shop looking at something to purchase. I saw a pink shirt in the corner and asked what it said... as soon as they told me I had to put it on and buy it- #truestory 

Instead of  heading back the way we came, dad thought it would be good to take a different route. We had a map after all and it didnt look that far.... 3.5 hours later right before sunset we made it back. It was actually fun because we drove all over the remote areas on skinny one lane winding roads and took TONS of photos (i'm pretty sure i took over 100)
My favorites:

in a giant crater

Makes me think of Ireland

Did a little hiking / avoiding bees 

Quiet little fishing town 

Came back in time to clean up for dinner and watch the sunset

Sunday- race day, aka "most emotional day of my life" day 

Recap of race HERE

Although I love all the photos from that day, these are hands down my favorites

Finally throwing up the 5-0

The best finish line photo ever

Me and the parents (couldn't decided which I liked more)

Epitome of celebration for closing a chapter 

Rest of day was at the pool relaxing, took a mini nap, then dad took us out to Ruth Chris for celebration dinner

Skipped the run and traded it in for SUPing (stand up paddleboarding) with dad

Practicing getting up on board

Everyone has to paddle out on their knees till we get past waves. 

So it was much harder than anticipated. Although its great being tall- it does work against you in this sport. I found it difficult to stay balanced and I did fall off my board twice, but it was fine to get back up. The current kept moving us so we constantly were rowing just to stay in same spot. Nashville has SUPing in the summer at the big lake around here, Percy Priest, I'll be trying it again to see if I can get better


Rest of day was balanced between beach time (only day spent at beach) and a little bit of pool time. I got pretty burned so I was limiting how much sun time I got. 

Since this was our last full day in Maui we jumped the gun and went to a Luau- everyone should do at least one luau! 

While waiting for food to be served, I got to watch how a coconut was split open and you got coconut water, and then how you made coconut milk- pretty interesting. I got to be the volunteer to drink the coconut water, but it happened so quickly I didn't have time to tell dad how to use my camera

Unveiling of the pig 

Time to party with unlimited drinks and food- yes please

And once the sun went down was the entertainment. Lots of hips shaking, story telling, and yelling- no good photos to depict the show

Was debating on running, but when I saw all the complaints of cold weather on facebook I knew I had to soak in the last bit of warmth before returning home

After breakfast and shower, dad and I enjoyed one last Maui IPA we had left over before checking out
Rocking the race shirt 

For lunch we ate at a nearby restaurant I had been wanting to try, Monkey Pod- best kale salad and pizza I've had in a long time - awesome ambiance, food, and craft beer selection

Eventually made our way to Maui airport, short flight to Honolulu, then longest layover before boarding back to Dallas for our 8pm flight.  Its and 8.5 hour flight from Dallas to Honolulu-- on way back its 6 and change... got to love that jet stream 

Sadly I did not sleep despite my earplugs and attempts with reclining into the laying down position. 

Land in Dallas at 7:15 am, I'm in a different terminal than my parents so we part ways and I play around of FB / internet until my flight takes off at 9:30. I somehow manage to sleep for 30 min on the plane, land in Nashville at 11am, and am in for a RUDE awakening as I wait for the shuttle with 20 degree weather. 

Rest of day I did laundry (all my clothes were musty despite doing a load while in Hawaii), cleaned, and just did NOTHING to prep for chaos back at work 

Such a relaxing, exciting, exhausting, bittersweet trip. Memories to last, however I will eventually make my way back to the Islands to create some more!!!

Have you ever been to Hawai'i?

What events do you recommend to fully experience the island??


  1. WOW. What a fun week!! Especially on that bike tour, you got some AMAZING pictures. Sounds like a trip you will never forget. Welcome back to winter :D

  2. Best vacay ever! Wishing I could go back to Hawaii ASAP! Way to make the most of your time there:)

  3. It just all sounds so warm right now....can you tell I'm freezing?! Looks like an amazing week and a great time to celebrate all your hard work!!

  4. what a great week! first class looks AMAZING and i love SUP!

  5. Ah-mazing! What a wonderful experience you had! Congrats on 50!! So exciting. Ok I have to admit, your recap of your time in Maui totally brought me back to my Senior trip. We did the early morning, above the clouds, watch the sunrise, bike down the mountain thing...and the Luau. Thanks for bringing back such wonderful memories! I think it's time for me to go back...and of course I'll have to find a race while I'm there! :0) Congrats again!!

  6. We went to Maui on our honeymoon and I would LOVE to go back there, seeing this reminds me of how awesome it is. Looks like you had an awesome vacation with your parents and really took in lots of sights! We did the morning sunrise bike ride, and Luau of course, we also did some magic show that was supposed to be really great but I couldn't stay awake for it.

  7. What an amazing trip you had!! So excited that you got to make your last state a vacation and not just go do the race and leave. It looks like you had so much fun and I'm happy for you that your parents got to be there and enjoy some R&R also!! Oh and those sunrise photos were spectacular!!

  8. Breathtaking pictures, soo beautiful!!! Hawaii is definitely on my bucket list, it looks so pretty!