Post-Vacation Reality’s Hard to Embrace

Posted on February 12, 2013

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I’m not using the garden bench anytime soon.

Returning to cloudy skies, cold temperatures and about ten inches of snow still in the back yard was difficult to adjust to after our time in Hawaii. Today was the first day back at the gym after vacation time and healing from a wisdom tooth extraction (bonus). I fully recognized that it would be a session to “listen to my body” and not go full-bore with the weights and cardio. After all, I wasn’t planning on atoning for all the Mai Tai’s and shrimp dinners all in one session; that would have negated some of the pleasures within a vacation, right?

A little greenery would be welcome right about now.

First of all, before the class had even begun, I was warmly welcomed back by a few of the ladies in my group. Some of the highlights from my trip were shared, and I caught up with some of the news over the past few weeks. The gals all seemed to notice and approve of my “healthy” skin tone, a few shades darker than my usual pastey white legs and flushed cheeks. (It made me wonder whether I look anemic to them most of the time, or was it a courteous acknowledgement of my absence.) Nonetheless, our instructor quickly called us to order, and like it or not, I was facing the dreaded “so-you-think-you-could-fool-your-body-after-time-away-huh?” syndrome. My brain may have moved forward since returning from time off, but my muscles were saying “Are you joking?” as I proceeded from interval to interval. Puff, puff. Sweat. Towel off. Sweat some more. Repeat.

The cardio routine was bearable – and I was keeping up with the pace – up until the last five gruelling minutes of it. As the instructor exclaimed “Quick feet, quick feet!” indicating to ramp up the intensity with the lateral moves, I found my brain wandering. I suddenly remembered how hot the sands were at the beach and how fast we had to scamper to reach the cooling surf. I must have had a peculiar, far-away look on my face, thinking of our grand holiday in Hawaii, because I was jolted back to realty with another call from the instructor (just feet away): “Workin’ hard enough, Marilyn? These Maui people sitting in the sun … Hey, you’re a different colour.” I’m pretty sure my tan had a distinct reddish hue to it from then on, despite sips from the water bottle.

So, I thought a bit about the active lifestyle of a typical Hawaiian, the surfing, swimming, kayaking, etc. … and was reminded when I reviewed some of our holiday photos, of the stamina required by the Hawaiian dancers who performed nightly at our hotel in Maui. Granted these young people were fit, but I didn’t realize  just how much so until I was coaxed on stage in an “audience participation” of a Polynesian hula dance. (And no way will you ever see the video of that! It was sooooo embarrassing.) The segment was introduced at the end of the show, after nearly two hours of performances, as one of the techniques used to help increase the dancers’ stamina. It’s Polynesian dancing like you haven’t seen before. It gives me hope to get back into the gym once again. Hope you enjoy it.

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