Monday, October 22, 2012

I Swam With Sharks And Live To Tell The Tale

I've been home from the Dominican Republic for 11 days now and I still feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water. Vacation is great but playing catch up is not. Two days after my sisters and I got home, our mom was rushed to the hospital due to a serious spike in her blood pressure which caused some damage to her aorta. She is home now and doing well but it scared the hell out of us all. This was completely out of the blue. She doesn't have a history of high blood pressure that we know of. I say that because my mom had not been to the doctor in years and therefore has not had her BP checked.

When is the last time you had a check-up? This is your friendly reminder to schedule a check-up if you haven't had one in the last year.

So, back to my whirlwind of events... Fred and I ran our second half marathon on Saturday, September 29th, I left for Punta Cana on Wednesday, October 3rd, got back Wednesday October 10th.

The half was awesome. We both felt great for this one and we both enjoyed it immensely. In the last half mile my knee suddenly felt like someone had snapped a rubber band inside of it. I had to slow down, then stop and stretch, then hobble, then stretch some more. I was able to finish the race running. My knee bothered me for several days after but has been doing much better.

This was a very exciting race because it was the first half marathon for two of my friends. They did great!

Our first day in Punta Cana!
Dannette, Kari, Me

Punta Cana. Wow. This was my first trip out of the country. I loved it. My sisters and I all stayed at Dreams Punta Cana for 8 glorious days. Everyone there is so nice, so friendly, it really made the trip for us. The Dominican people are amazing.

We did 3 excursions while we were there. The first was called Bavaro Runners. They took us into the mountains to a sugar cane plantation, a coffee plantation, a cigar 'factory' (really just a little building with a 'master cigar maker' rolling cigars). Very cool though. We also had a Dominican lunch prepared for us and visited with a local woman who grows and sells coffee, vanilla, cinnamon, coconut oil, cacao, and honey. It was an amazing trip. My oldest sister had packed a back pack full of crayons, coloring books, markers, etc. to give to the local children. She was quite popular. If you travel to the Dominican be sure to do this, it is so appreciated.

Sorry, no pics of us holding the sharks...
Our second excursion was to snorkel with sharks and stingrays. Yes, sharks... nurse sharks, which are incredibly docile creatures, but still. I saw nurse sharks in the Keys once at an aquarium and they were about a foot to two feet long and you could touch their backs so I already knew they were not 'Jaws.' However, when I started snorkeling and looked down to see a six foot shark below me, it definitely made me pause. I guess I was still expecting a one to two foot fish. Not something bigger than me that actually looked like a shark. It was pretty cool. We also got to hold a stingray, very cool. Then we hopped back on the catamaran and enjoyed a nice cruise along the beach. Music, dancing, and a stop to hang out in the clear, Caribbean water. Perfect day. Plus, we made friends with two of the women on the excursion, a mother and daughter. We had dinner with them that night.

Last, the zip-line excursion. OMG!!!! Talk about getting me out of my comfort zone. Well, to be honest, this entire trip was totally out of my comfort zone from the get go when we arrived at a thatch-roof, open-air airport. But anyway, back to the zip-line. My sisters and I met a girl named Dawn who we talked into joining us in our craziness. She ditched a massage to go zip-lining with us on the last day of her vacation. How cool is that!?!? Clearly, being around us can cause a momentary lapse of reason.

I'm afraid of heights. Being 5'1" will do that to a girl. I was counting on my middle sister to chicken out so I would have an out. I kept thinking though that if Fred were there he would totally make me do it and say things like, "Come on, spartan chic, toughen up!" Then I thought, what would Alice do? Well, I think we all know the answer to that. She'd jump on that zip-line and probably be spinning in circles the entire time while shooting zombies because she is a badass. I heart Alice. So, I sucked it up and made myself do it. After the first one, I was hooked! They start you on the shortest one and you work your way to the highest then the longest. The highest line was 800 meters, luckily, I know nothing about meters so I really had no idea how far that was. I knew from everyone else's expressions that it must be pretty high but it wasn't until later that I was informed it's HALF. A. MILE. Holy tomato sauce, Batman!!!

I'm still shocked that I wasn't afraid of being up so high. Now, mind you, I did have a few flashbacks of 'Cliffhanger' where Sylvester Stallone tries to save a girl but instead totally drops her from the zip-line and she dramatically plummets to her death. How else does one plummet if not dramatically... yikes. There was no plummeting though and we all had a fantastic time.

I slacked on my running though. I only ran one time, six miles plus a weight circuit. The rest of the time was spent pool-side, ocean-side, and table-side.  Needless to say, Spartan class kicked my butt when I got back.

Table-side... Kari, Me, Dannette
I missed Fred and my kids terribly. It was a fantastic trip, especially since my awesome oldest sister won it and shared it with her sisters. I was ready to come back home though. Fred and I are talking about going back. I highly recommend a trip to the Dominican Republic, it's a beautiful country full of beautiful people.

The Super Spartan is this coming Saturday! Yes, I'm freaking out a little bit. Yes, I just threw up in my mouth a little also. A six mile run this weekend left me with some knee pain. My goal for the Spartan is to finish without injury. Wish me luck!!!

Peace, Love, Happiness!


Are you participating in our weight loss challenge? How's it going? Hang in there and know that you are worth it!!!


  1. Good luck:) That vaca sounds just awesome! Grest pics:)

  2. Sounds like an awesome trip! I have never been out of the country before or even on a plane so it would have been totally out of my comfort zone!
    I am participating in your challenge and its going pretty well so far. I was up a couplpe pounds Friday but I knew I would be as I was getting ready for my half on Sunday.