It happened two months ago. But I want to return tomorrow. Maybe I'll stop through on my way home from Chile...I can't think of anything better to do. I think I have already clearly expressed my love and respect I have for Maui and it's waters, but while I was there I wrote in my sketch book every evening to recapture the day and my feelings. So I'll condense it, appropriate it, and revise it for public consumption.
Day 1: Snorkeling at Black Rock with Stacey. Julia has not yet arrived, so when we flew in last night we took a cab to her place and slept like babies in the Hawaiian breezes that blow through her house with song and ease. In the morning we purloined her truck and sped to town for some breakfast, then to the beach in excitement. I gave up technology at noon--although somewhat hesitant, I knew I would have a much better trip filled with conversations, friends, water and observation without twitter/facebook/phone calls.
Black Rock/Kaanapali beach was relatively crowded and touristy...not what I was hoping for, but what I was willing to deal with to swim with the tropical fish and dive through the clear blue waters among the reef and coral. We became hungry, as Stacey and Laurenne easily do, and ventured to Lahaina for some eats--to a little place called Honu. It was set right on the water, where I took my first picture of the trip...(check out laurenneross.com for all photos of the trip)
Though the views were sticky pretty, the food surpassed what I saw with my eyes. Yum. We shared a mozzarella/bruschetta/caprese type appetizer with olive bread. I could have eaten 6 servings. But I moved on to wok fried crab with quinoa and veggies, Stacey had the catch of the day, and we were both fat and happy and somewhat broke by the end of the evening. Regardless, I would go back in a second. We left just in time to get a bit lost on our way to the airport to pick up Julia. Then home to watch the waves crash on the beach before sleep.
Day 2: Ate at Paia Bay Cafe in the morn, then took off to the gym for a lift. Post lift, we headed to Alejandra's studio to work on alignment and core strength. I would call it something like Pilates, with more focus on connections from toe tip to pinky fingers and foreheads (more on this later). Home for a nap in the afternoon, then off to the beach in the evening for some waves--surfing and SUPing at Launio'poko...so small, yet so fun. This was my first time to ever SUP in the ocean, and I even caught a few waves :) Post-surf dinner at the fish market in Paia, then off to Lowe's for some jerry-rigged mounting contraptions for our GoPros.Yeehaw. Up early tomorrow for some surfing with the stars....
Day 3: 6 o'clock wakeup call from USADA for Julia, then off to the beach with Dave Kalama and his son for some more surfing and SUPing. We had an interesting SUP sesh with three girls on one board (click HERE to watch the ridiculous video of our so-called skills)...that didn't quite work out as we'd hoped, but it surely made for some laughs. Jules and I actually managed to catch some waves with the two of us on the big SUP board...though I fell over quite a few times. I am not used to the waves and power of the ocean--it's a bit different from SUPing up on the calm, clear Cascade Lakes. I keep bailing out of the wave a bit too late and proceed to hit the rocky bottom. Ouch. My poor big toes are completely destroyed--bloody, oozing, and full of sand. Yikes.
I saw Kazuko at the studio for some work midday--her massage is intense, but relieving and refreshing. She knows the body well, and understood where I needed some serious releasing. We took off for an INCREDIBLE bike ride on the road to Hana in the afternoon. I must say that it was my favorite road bike ride of all time. It winds through the tropical rain forests of bamboo and Eucalyptus trees with a few openings from the cliffs above to beautiful views of the ocean below. Although we had to do a sprint workout, I couldn't have been happier to be biking in such an amazing place. Before we departed we were afraid it was going to rain, but it turned out to be perfect weather.
Working with Alejandra and Kazuko has been amazing. Alejandra knows the human body so well, it is truly astonishing. The connections she enables are so essential, yet overlooked so easily everyday. She has helped me so much with my alignment and body awareness, I need to constantly think of these ideas in my everyday life--from simple walking, sitting, stretching, biking, and standing to skiing, lifting, plyos, agility and all other activities. If I can bring this awareness into my life in every way to make it more natural, I think my body will reap the benefits and feel better in everything I do. Lately I have been having some low-back issues, but when I remember to focus on my core and the significant connections within my body, the pain is relieved and my movements improve. I made a diagram of the Spiral Line--the essential connection that Alejandra has been teaching me about--that you can find also find on my blog here.
Alejandra calls her practice, "Neuro Kinesthetic Pilates" which makes perfect sense to me. You can find her website here and read about her practices, methods, and teachings here. She is an amazing person and Julia is so lucky to live so close to her and enjoy her teachings and innovative knowledge everyday that she is home in Maui. Thanks, Alejandra and Kazuko!
Day 4: A leisurely awakening (at about 7:45. hah!) and then off to Alejandra again with Stacey and Julia. After a good burn, I rode the Vespa home with Jules--I was the dork on the back with the GoPro. heh.
When we got back to Julia's house, we prepped for the beach then went out to lunch in Paia at Cafe des Amis for some very yummy Mediterranean/Indian food. I had a crepe with lentil curry, mozzarella and pesto. 'Twas delicious. From there we took off to the SE side of the island (Big Beach) for some fun and relaxation in the sand and waves. We took the paddle-ball boards and played on the beach, and also caught a few waves on the boogie boards. After some sun, we took off for the other side of the island and met up with Julia's friend, Kim McDonald, who is an artist on the island. She does very colorful and bold work of picturesque Hawaiian scenes. Julia has some of her paintings in her house, which work very well with the feeling of an island abode--flowery, colorful, and full of Hawaiian women figures, alive and dreamy. Then we went out to dinner at the Flatbread restaurant for some pizza with friends. One Gelato was calling our names post pizza, so we ventured for some crazy flavored ice-cream--I had the goat cheese and liliquoi (passion fruit) flavor, and a peanut butter scoop as well. It made my mouth go hells yes. Then off to bed...
Day 5: Up early for gymnastics in Kahului....a fun, explosive way to do agility and plyos (and also test my old gymnastics skills!). Then back home for a quick round-up before heading to the commando hike. I had been looking forward to this hike for a few years, as many of my ski racing friends have done it and told me all about it's craziness. It begins in a field (where Julia got chased by a bull...) and heads up a river. We had to hike through the water--over slippery rocks and through forests of vines--sometimes walking, sometimes swimming, sometimes climbing. The river eventually became a lava tube; it was completely dark and a bit eerie, but absolutely incredible. We had to wade and paddle through swimming holes, climb up through waterfalls in the dark, and grope for grip on slippery lava rock. And to top it off, at the end of the lava tube we walked up to the top of the hike to jump off of 3 cliffs! The first one was relatively small--about 25 feet or so. The second and third ones were pretty big--somewhere around 50 feet each. I took my GoPro on the hike and got some pretty amazing footage until I dropped it while jumping off of the final cliff. I hit the water funny and it got jerked out of my hand...man was that a buzz kill. But it was worth it, since Julia's friend Tarzan went to dive down and rescue it after we left Maui (I just got the memory card back, so am working on making a movie of the adventures!). On our way home from the hike we stopped at a crepe stand and had brie&honey crepes with chocolate-coconut smoothies. nummy.
Day 6: I thought the other days were early awakenings. Today we woke up at 3:40 to leave the house by 4 in order to catch the sunrise from the top of Haleakala... It was really beautiful, and I'm glad I did it so that I won't ever have to do it again. I hate getting up that early. blugh. Anyhow, we fly out at 9 pm tonight, so we mostly spent the day packing and getting ready for New Zealand (and also went on a rescue mission for the GoPro, which was unsuccessful...)
It was a really amazing trip, and the lack of a virtual world made it that much better for me. I felt like I could think clearer and breathe easier, knowing that I didn't have to respond to emails at the end of the day, didn't have to make that dreaded call to the insurance company, or the bank, or even my mum (though I love talking with you, mum). I felt lighter without my phone, and freer without my computer. I thought it would be much hotter and sweatier, but the temperatures were perfect, the ocean was kind, and the sun did not sizzle my fair freckled skin. Julia, Stacey and I have talked about making it an annual trip, and I really hope we follow through with those plans. For now, Portillo, Chile will have to do :)
I'm not complaining. Training here has been incredible thus far, and the snow gads timed it perfectly with their spewing today on our day off. It snowed just a few inches--enough to cover up some of those rocks that were peeking through near our training hill. So here I'll be for another 10 days, then back to Bend for a bit before heading to Washington for a wedding and then Park City for conditioning camp. I am already getting antsy for winter...today's new snow was such a tease. I am looking forward to the season and hopefully a bit of powder skiing this year.... though that's quite the opposite of the Hawaiian lifestyle. I indeed enjoy both sides of the world, all seasons they endure, and any form of h2o that comes with them. Peace.