So I joined a gym…

The greatest tragedy of switching jobs was that I lost my work gym… I know.

Between no running and no gym, I felt a little at loss for identity. I know, I know, I could workout at home, but I have house ADD.

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I could use my bike trainer…

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But that’s so summer 2014.

So I joined a gym…

And went to it on Tuesdays and explored some machines.

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So after feeling like I’m lost in a corn maze and giving sad puppy dog eyes to the treadmills, I found this machine

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And I remember the elliptical… and I don’t remember being so terrible at it because I’m pretty sure I can walk faster than the MPH speed this thing said I was grazing at.

So the gym I joined a bit of a splurge, but with how long winter lasts in Boston and how little sunlight I see, I tend to spend a lot of time at one.

My other main requirement was secure lockers, cleanliness and as close to work as possible.

So this gym?

Healthworks

A year commitment that starts in January for $99 a month, with the rest of 2014 free. I know a true steal!

For a girl who hasn’t paid for a gym in over 4 years with the exception of the Y, this was a hard decision for me. But on the bright side I got to test it during the summer.

The hair products and my hair get a long which is great.

It’s all women and it’s not that I think all men are lustily checking me out, but sometimes, okay most times, I like to run in booty shorts and I prefer not bumping into my male co-workers in those. Also, I noticed some men, not all, but enough of them, seem to think they can wear the same tshirt to work out in for a week or month.  My sense of smell gets really sensitive when I run.. it’s like first trimester sensitive. So I’m super excited to be in an all women gym.

I like the spin bikes because the resistance knob comes with number settings so I can tell if I turned it a quarter of a circle or a full circle.

I haven’t tried a lot of the other classes yet, but I’m looking forward to doing some group classics.

And it’s literally right across the street from my work so once I’m healed enough to run again, it’ll be a great shower stop.

And there’s free wifi so I can continue my Gilmore Girls binge on these elliptical things.

And maybe just maybe, I’ll learn how to use those muscle machine things.

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Stay tune, while I can’t anally recount every mile I run for a bit, I can now replace for every plate of metal I lift, push, pull instead.

 

So I turned 28….

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So every year I have this dream of being a cool kid, or maybe just a cool runner and running my age…

Every year something happens… actually November is right about that time when I either A. go travel or B. get injured…

This year sadly it’s B. With a stress fracture of mysterious degree on the lower part of my leg. It’s not so bad.. I know I could do things like crunches… eww.. or even burpees vomit… or lifting.. can I kill myself now? The only thing I probably should still take another week or two away from is running. The pain has died down a bit.. but if it can’t pass the one foot hop test, or the poke test… it’s probably not healed. And while I’m not doctor.. I know the only advice will be to rest…

I did start to get back a little bit into cardio with my bike trainer even if its just 30 minutes a day… but if it wasn’t for my love of running… I would be really lazy.

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But 27 was a great year for me.

I finally conquered my first half ironman… well conquered is a loose term.. but I did realize triathlons… not my full cup of tea.

I ran back to back marathons in one weekend.. and realized it’s totally my thing… (Newport and Hartford)

Ran not one but two 50 milers… and realized they could be my thing… but the stress fracture (or syndrome) on my leg says I probably shouldn’t have done them two weeks apart even if my weekly mileage didn’t change too much.

So how did I actually celebrate the day of my borning? By having an amazing dinner with my roommates.

Tony made me some Sangria and Paella

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I probably should have taken some sexier photos… but certain people were too busy making sure I drank more sangria

and Adrienne, my favorite baker made some macorons.

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and as for my other roommate… Jack Meower.

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He did a great job of knocking over my flowers and trying to eat them all.

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I heard the arrangement looked a bit nicer before, but I still love them.

 

So while being injured does suck.. and one day I do want to run my age.. I think I still had a pretty rocking night =)

2014 Stonecat 50 Miler Race Recap

I signed up for the stone cat 50 miler way back in July… but the idea of running Stone Cat has been festering for well over a year after my first 50 miler DNF at TARC 50 that ended up being a 25 mile swim. Unfortunately the 2013 Stone Cat was the same day as the NYC marathon… So I waited again and tried another TARC 50 miler on a different course… with the same DNF result… In July, I signed up for the lottery to get into Stone Cat and got in! I wasn’t sure what to expect for a fall race since historically Fall is busy time of year for my job where I end up working most Saturdays until 10/15… However, I ended up switching jobs and for the first time in a while, I had weekends opened up to get some of the long runs I would need to get myself ready for this adventure… I can go into more about my training, but I think it warrants a post of its own since it wasn’t the most traditional of plans.

The Stone Cat 50 Miler was held on Saturday, November 8th 2013 at 6:15. The cost of the race is $85 plus fees so essentially $90. The cost to the lottery is Free and while I’m pretty sure the getting picked rate is probably around 100%, the lottery is there to relieve some of the registration stress that seems to happen with races nowadays and servers going boom on the opening hour of registration.

The week of the race I wasn’t traveling for work and unfortunately didn’t get the best rest that I would have liked… It was also that week that I started to feel pain on the side of my leg. Basically the part where my foot connects to my leg in the front. I ignored it for the most part, thinking it was maybe the hotel treadmills and me not getting enough sleep… I got home and ran on Wednesday night and felt okay. Thursday, I went for a 10K on my home treadmill and when I was done, my leg was killing me. At this point, I still thought my pain was muscular and would be gone with a good day of rest. So Friday I worked from home, icing, elevating and the whole RICE treatment hoping that my leg would be good to go by 6:15 AM Saturday.

But first there was the headlamp fiasco… I couldn’t find my old headlamp I used.. and the Fenix flashlight I usually use has had an unfortunate death with Duracell batteries refusing to remove themselves… so I did what any ordinary girl would do… I ordered 1 day delivery from Amazon… only to be disappointed…. Yes, as a prime member, I paid extra to get my delivery in 24 hours only to be disappointed that my headlamp was still in Indiana… so Friday night after packing everything else… we tore the house down looking for the old headlamps because I doubt REI is going to be open at 5AM… luckily we found them.

Initially if everything went to plan, I wouldn’t have needed the headlamp… but as I learned two weeks ago in Ghost Train.. it’s always good to have.

So finally.. I am fully packed with 20 pairs of socks, a few extra layers ready from 100 degrees to negative 100 degrees and more pairs of shoes than most people own in 5 years… yes, when I pack for an ultra.. I pack more than I would for a 3 week trip to Asia. But yes, finally I am packed and ready for bed.

And BAM! the 5AM alarm goes off… I can wake up early… but I really hate it and this wake up with the stress of traveling during the week really felt like a punch in the face. Luckily, the race is only 30 minutes from my house in Ipswich. Tony graciously dropped me off at the race start as we got there around 6:05 AM… Yea probably a little bit late. As I grab my number and shirt from the awesome volunteers, I start to set up my drop back area. My leg feels better, but I can still feel a minor dull ache that I continue on ignoring.

The weather is somewhere in the 30s and I feel groggy and a little cranky as I try to evaluate what layers I need. I finally decide to go with a tshirt and my 2012 Boston Marathon Jacket for some comfort and warmth…Plus it’s bright and orange and makes me happy and reminds me of one of the most difficult runs I ever had. 2012 Boston Marathon was no joke and I’m proud that I stuck through it.  I also kept a hat on which I probably didn’t need but I was just not in the mood to be cold. For the bottom I am wearing a pair of old black Capris I got a few years ago from Express… Yes.. not exactly ideal tights for 50 miles of running… Unfortunately with all the commuting, travel and working from home, I forgot that I pretty much horde a whole closet of workout clothes at work in Boston which is where my three pairs of favorite running capris were currently residing at. Whatever, it’s not the gear that makes the runner… it’s the runner that well fuck it gotta do what she gotta do because a 3AM drive to Boston was not in the cards.

So I am dressed… or undressed from my warm layers… hearing the trail briefing and ready to start when I decide maybe it would be a great idea to take a bathroom visit before I start running. Unfortunately, unlike road races, trail races for some tragic reason (for the almost late Liana) seem to always start on time… so as the rest of the runners start their 50 mile journey, I scurry over to look for the bathroom… which of course is proceeded by a line. So aside from being a 50 miler, stone cat trail races also has a marathon that starts 15 minutes later at 6:30 so all of those runners are being timely. In my head I scream a few expletives about being such a morning wreck and debate the merits of peeing on myself instead of this line… but eventually decide that running with a full bladder or wet pants for 50 miles will probably not be fun.

About 5 minutes later, I am off, joining the first of the pack into the woods. Stone Cat 50 miler consists of FOUR 12.5 mile loops. The aid stations are at mile 4 mile 7.5 and then back at 12.5. I’m used to running 20 miles with no food and water and I decide that at least for the first loop or two, I’m going to leave my handheld in my drop bag. I liked being hands free.

The first mile or so of the first loop is a bit lonely as everyone has had a 5 minute head start and I kinda enjoy the peace and quiet of it all… then I start to catch up and see a bunch of runners but none of whom look familiar and I kind of get a little more cranky.

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of rolling single track at the start of races… I don’t run on trails often and sometimes it takes me a bit to get into them. Also, I’m not a fast runner but I’m also not a slow runner until the downhill part. So for the majority of it, I am trying to get around runners on the uphill and flat part and having panic attacks as others run around me on the downhill. And while I’m usually relatively social, I found myself in a mood. Maybe, it was subtle stress of my leg, maybe it was exhaustion, maybe it was everyone looking so at ease and me feeling the struggle of mile 1 like it was mile 31, but I was in a mood. The hard part about being in a mood is that I can’t fake being happy but I also don’t want to be a debbie downer. I am so grateful for having these trails so close by but at that point in time, I was cursing every bump, rock and root. I was just not in the mood for trails or people… or maybe anything. Maybe it was my lack of caffeine?

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Around mile 2, I saw my friend Anj and I instantly felt better. Maybe, I just needed some familiarly to comfort myself as I felt so out of place on the single track terrain. I decided to stop looking at my watch, or time, or miles and just take it step by step. So what if I had to walk every downhill, if that’s the break I needed, then I’ll take it and just run a little faster on the flat part. Many ultrarunners take walk breaks and while most don’t do them on downhills, it’s okay, I don’t have to be like all the other children… As I was working on letting go of my insecurities, I hit the first aid station at mile 4 that was playing music and full of perky, happy volunteers. I immediately downed two cups of coke, not because I was thirsty, but because I’m pretty sure I was feeling caffeine and sugar withdrawal. I didn’t really eat a breakfast even though I probably should have. In the next 3.3 miles I started to pass by more familiar faces from TARC and was finally feeling a little bit  more comfortable. I wasn’t an outsider trying to keep up. These are my people and while most of them I only see at trail races, I am constantly in awe of all their accomplishments, just like sometimes they are of mine. Our accomplishments and skills and background might be different, but we’re all here to challenge ourselves and achieve our individual goals. Maybe it was the caffeine kicking in, but in simple terms, I was finally chilling the bleep out.

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The 7.5 aid station came by quickly as I decided to pass it and hold out for the end of the loop at 12.5. Somewhere in those 5 miles there was a volunteer dressed as a clown… clowns and woods… not cool people.. not cool… I prefer the Yeti ;). It was also around this time that the faster marathons started catch up and lapping me. It’s always though on the ego when you get passed and it messed with my pacing a bit. I wanted to run faster, and keep up with them.. but I kept trying to remind myself that I got double the distance and should focus more on finishing the course versus racing others.

Before I knew it, I hit the first 12.5 miles in about 2:27 (minus my 5 lateness minutes)… a little smarter, a little slower than stone cat. I immediately changes out of my jacket and hat into a thin long sleeve. Had a few bits of pumpkin pie, some salted potatoes and moved on. My second loop was meditative… for the most part I was running alone and I liked it. I love the support and volunteers of races, but when I’m running, I like being in my own head and gazing around. Suddenly, a large portion of the terrifying single track seemed pleasant and beautiful. I went from not just chilling out, but really enjoying myself and remembering why I love trail running and ultra running. The second loop went by quickly, and I even started to pass some of those marathoners that flew past me… pacing is a skill that takes practice physically and mentally.

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As I finished my second loop at 4:53 (less 5), I saw a few more of my favorite familiar faces who were waiting to pace their friends. Then I realized, I kind of forgot to get myself a pacer… in TARC races, the 50 milers weren’t allowed to have them and in Ghost Train since you’re running 7.5 miles pack and forth, you don’t really need one on the rail trail… so it sort of slipped my mind that I might want one on my final 12.5 miles.

As I started my third loop, I started thinking whether I wanted a pacer. I was still feeling great. In fact, I was surprised by how much energy I had as I was going into the middle of my third loop. At mile 30 at ghost train, I was fading fast,, versus here, with a slower and more consistent pace, I was keeping relatively steady with my energy level. Maybe this whole pace yourself theory does have some logic. As I continued, I would sync up and chat with a few runners. I loved hearing where people run, how far, and other details. I love that you can run alone for a bit, have a nice little chat and then go back into your personal zone. When people ask if I ever get lonely running for 10 hours in the woods. The answer is no. In a world where I’m so connected via social media, and close coworker cube office environment. I cherish those moments when I’m unplugged and with nature. Plus, I know if I slow down or speed up, I can eventually find another like minded person I can chat with for a bit.

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The great and happy selfie…

On my third loop, around mile 36 just as I was thinking of how great I felt with energy, my left knee gave out. It just wouldn’t take any more running. When I got near the clown, I had to get over my fear and borrow his chair for a stretch. For the first time in a rice, I felt great, my back wasn’t hurting, my energy was on cue and only thing that was stopping me was a sharp pain in my left knee with each step. I tried to do a jog, a run walk and eventually just gave up to walking the final 2 miles of the loop. Before my sudden sharp pains, I was on cue to hitting 37.5 miles in under 7:30. Right on plan with my 10 hour goal. My actual time at loop three was 7:45 minus 5.

As I was in the zone of debating between what to do with my life… because I’m so dramatic… I mean race between loop 3 and final loop 4, I decided to sit down and grab some food. I drank a little noodle, had some hot coco and take a few steps into a warm school bathroom because even though I was running with no hydration, I was definitely downing more liquids than I needed to.

My mind was racing and I was going back and forth about whether to DNF or not. I always said I would never run on an injury. However, I figured what’s the worse that could happen. I heal fast. At this point, I still thought my injury was soft tissue. Plus at this point, I had more than 4 hours to walk my final 12.5 miles of the course. Should I really DNF because I didn’t want a slower time than my goal? That seemed silly. I was tired of DNFing for all the wrong reasons and while for the first time, I probably have a legit reason, I felt like a disappointment if I didn’t finish this one. I wanted an official 50 miler and ghost train because the loops were 15 miles, didn’t really count as one. I’m also, not sure when I’ll have the time and energy to train as hard again. This had to be it.  I grabbed my Jacket and my head lamp. I wasn’t cold. but I knew I had some serious hours and miles ahead of me if I was going to get through the final loop. I also decided to change my shoes from trail to road because they had a bit more cushion and I wanted comfort for walking vs. the protection and feed back of my Innov-8.

I was definitely not making the sunset cut-off. After chatting a little bit with my friend Mike and walking a half mile. I felt a bit less shaken and determination took over. I can finish in the time I had left and at this point, all my pride wanted was an official finish.

My final loop was a haze. Well that’s a lie. The first 8 miles of the 4.5 was a haze as I was right foot, left foot. My knee stopped hurting but the pain in my leg by the shin returned. Any down step felt like what I always imagined a kick in the balls would feel like. I started to get passed by runners I passed before and there was nothing I could do about it. I was running my own race and they had theirs. It wasn’t about others anymore, it was just me and my battle.

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At one point I saw my friend Anj on her final loop and was really excited by how great and strong she looked! She asked me to run with her, but I just couldn’t get my foot to match my energy and wish her luck on her final miles. It was also at some point that I hit my right toe straight into a rock as I was texting on my phone… and for a bit, the pain in my toe, made me forget about the pain in my left foot and I rain for a few minutes.

I made it to the final aid station with 5 miles left to the course and Tony wasn’t there. I convinced him to walk the final 5 miles with me but he couldn’t find the trailhead and said the road was too rough for our Prius. I continued and only made it half a mile before darkness took over.

The funny thing about sunset in the woods in the November… it sort of happens in a flash. One moment you’re running and you’re fine, the next you’re dependent on a headlamp that you realize has a lot less light depth than you thought before. You’re looking for the trail marks and ribbons, but none seem to be visible. Instead, as you enter single track again, you rely on your footing.. if the footing feels consistent you’re on trail, if things get a little bit more soft, less trimmed, you’re bushwhacking off trail. Amazing how much you start relying on the feel of your footing when you’re visibility is limited to a step or two in front..

For a mile or so, I felt okay… I was slowing down to make sure I was following the trail but I was okay. However, after about 20 minutes alone in darkness, I started to freak out. Out of nowhere, I heard coyotes all around me howling. Now logically, I know coyotes don’t eat people… but my brain is fried from running for 10 hours and it’s dark and I’m in the woods and I just lose it. I start freaking out that I’m lost since I haven’t seen anyone in a really long time and shouldn’t have somebody passed me by now? I try to go on, step by step and finally hit double track again. I know I still had about 2 more miles to go which at my current pace was at least 35 minutes at best.. but at least I could see where the trail was more clearly.

Suddenly, I hear women behind me. There’s two runners and two of their pacers, reminding me that I really should have picked a pacer but I just felt so guilty asking someone to walk 12.5 miles with me. It’s one thing to ask a friend to run with you, but walking? I don’t know. Anyone’s other humans! Inside, I screamed from joy, but the city road runner in me was starting to get really terrified of being alone in the woods in the dark. I couldn’t run but I was walking uphill at a much greater speed than most at this point. I used all the energy and strength to block out my pain and keep up with this pack. Two more miles, at this point, the damage to my foot was done, I just needed to get to the finish line. Being in the company of other runners for the last few miles, made them go by a lot faster than the single mile I did alone. And when I saw the field, I was in pain, but the joy of being done made me break out into a jog. I just wanted to be back in civilization and lights!

I crossed the finish line 11:42 gun time with probably 11:37 or so net time based on my Garmin.

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I found Tony right away and started to pack up all my gear as I grabbed two slices of pizza. I didn’t really eat much the whole day and got most of my energy from soda so finally chewing some food was a really treat!

The volunteers lined the finish area with light sabers and sparklers adding to the excitement of crossing the finish line.

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Instead of finishing medals, we got these awesome gym bags as our finishing prize. Not going to lie, because part of why I wanted an official finish as this bag! And also…

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and the shirts are super cute and when someone asks me about the race, i was to tell them about a finish and not a DNF.

I don’t know if I will have another 50 miler any time soon, but I know eventually I want to return to the course and run uninjured. I also don’t quite know what is happening to my leg. Based on research, I think I have a stress fracture. It’s been a week and still feel pain when I bend it. Going to the doctor this Thursday to find out the damage done before I resume my 2015 marathon goals.

Back to Back 50 miler weekends

Okay first things, I need to pimp myself. I applied to be a Rock and Blog ambassador with the Rock N Roll marathon group. And I’m trying for some brownie points, so if you have twitter and can retweet this little message that would be great!

I got a question the other day asking what I did between my double marathons and my first 50 miler as I had less than two weeks in between. Since I haven’t been best in doing weekly workout recap posts, I figured this would be a great excuse to do one.

The short answer… not much!

So let’s start from the start… one weekend, I achieved probably one of my biggest running accomplishments to date. I ran two marathons back to back in an almost equal BQ time. 3:31:31 & 3:31:40. Now my marathon PR is sub 3:22 so two run two marathons back to back less than 10 minutes from said PR was unexpected. I’m still in shock and I’ll probably write a post what I did to train eventually since it might help other runners who like me have trouble getting in their 20 + milers some weeks.

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After basking in my glow of running and realizing how much I love the marathon distance on roads… I relaxed for a few days.

On Monday and Tuesday, I did a mix of nothing, eating and more nothing. I went to work and did a little bit of more nothing. Do you realize how many TV shows I could be watching if I didn’t run… a ton. I hate taking two rest days back to back, but I got caught up in work and life things and decided that I needed to give my body recovery time.

Wednesday, I finally gave my body a run. 9.1 Miles. It ended up being an 8:09 pace… which for me after two days of rest, felt harder than usual.

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Thursday-Monday... I went on vacation… and I packed my running shoes and my running clothes… and I never unpacked them until I got home. Yes, I could have found time for at least a 30 minute run, but I decided to take my vacation as a vacation from literally everything. I don’t think I’ve ever done such a great job of nothing doing much.

Vacation Recap to Jamaica is up! 

I returned home on Monday at midnight and at 6AM Tuesday, I woke up, excited to be back in the Fall weather and went for a run.

Tuesday – I went for the same 9.1 mile run, I went before Jamaica, only this time, my pace was 7:51 while keeping it easy. Same path, same annoying car lights, same time. Looks like vacation and rest healed me up.

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Wednesday – 6.33  miles 7:38 pace on a treadmill

Thursday 5 miles 7:13 pace on a treadmill

Friday – Rest day

And of course Friday is some carboloading with this baller pizza we made at home.

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It’s an ugly photo, but it was delicious. Taco seasoned ground turkey and extra sauce!

As I went from two major endurance weekends, I skipped all strength workouts. I would have loved to attend my favorite tabata class, or do a Jillian Michaels DVD, but my muscles take forever to recover and I’m usually sore for days. So I decided, to sacrifice my muscles and avoid any strength workout that would tempt me. It just takes too big of a toll on my body and I wanted to save my strength for recovery.

Saturday – 9 hours 48 minutes Ghost Train 50 Miler… recap to come! Maybe next week.

Before every race, I like to take a full rest day. I don’t know if there’s physically benefits of taking a rest day vs doing a 2 mile shake up run that some people like. However, personally, skipping that day, helps me out mentally. It prepares me to be excited to run on race day, instead of feeling repetitive. I also try to run at least 20 miles the week of my race. I tried a complete taper of where I run a handful of miles the week of a race and it just makes me feel sluggish.

So there, my recipes of what I did. Maybe this will work for me tomorrow as I attempt on another 50 miler… Stonecat… I can’t make any big promises… but I can only try.

QOTD

Tell me what your weekend plans are. I have a race Saturday and Sunday night I’m going to a birthday party

Dining, Scuba, Drinking, Napping in Montego Bay, Jamaica

If you know me or my blog, you know I love to travel. And my traveling usually consists of a backpack, hostels, Airbnb, and a wing it DIY style approach. I have never done a prebooked and planned vacation and I have never been on a cruise and before this month I have never been on a resort. My reasons for prefering to plan my own travel and not use resorts are wide in range and will have to stay for another post. However, through a employer discount, I had a chance to experience an luxury resort and I thought, why not. You only live once right.

The resort Tony and I stayed at is called Secrets, St. James and is actually part of another resort called Wild Orchid. Basically they share all facilities and I think the only main difference might be the room decor.

I don’t have anything to compare it to, but the resort was beautiful and the service was amazing. It’s an inclusive so you will never go hungry or thirsty. Every morning you are greeted with a mimosa should you want one. The staff are well trained and very friendly. And the best part? It’s adults only so I don’t have to wake up to the screams of other people’s children. =) I love babies, and I’m sure I’ll appreciate the screams more when I have my own, but until then, I’m good on avoiding screaming kids.

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Tony and I stayed at the resort for four nights. We arrived on Thursday afternoon and left Monday morning. Since check in was at 3pm and check out at noon, our flight times worked out really well. Montego Bay airport; however, is nothing to write home about. The customs line was a nightmare and took about 2 hours to get through the airport. Once we made it outside the airport, we started the cab haggle, but sadly you’re bargaining power is limited when you’re going to a luxury resort. We finally worked it down from $40 to $25 for our 15 minute cab ride. I guess it’s either to bargain when you’re going to a hostel ;).

Upon checking into the resort, we were greeted with Champagne and a cold wet towel. We got the keys to our room and our view was of the pool and ocean.

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The rooms were pretty spacious and divided into a suite style. Their was a bathroom area with a shower and a Jacuzzi with two sink areas. A bedroom area with a king size bed and a little lounge area with a couch, a coffee table, a desk and an entrance to a balcony where this photo was taken. A little more cookie cutter than a small bed and breakfast, but comfortable and relaxing.

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After checking in a few more glasses of sparkling wine, it was time to check out the beach. The weather and water was amazing! And our first night’s sunset was probably the best. It was rainy season in Jamaica but that day we saw no precipitation as the clouds did roll in.

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The next day we woke up early and started with some beach reading and libations.

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And pretty much devoted all of Friday to exploring the food and drink options.

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On Saturday, our choice of activity was a little kayaking and snorkeling. For the most part, there wasn’t that much fish close to shore so we decided to go Scuba on Sunday.

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At breakfast we made some new friends

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But a lot of times we just spend doing nothing, admiring the views, and walking back and forth on the 400 meter path they have going around the resort. I saw a couple of people running, but I gave into my laziness and hatred of humid weather running. Drinking margaritas counts as a workout right?

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For four days, we didn’t leave the resort. We spent those days just relaxing, reading, swimming, eating and enjoying the sights.

Scuba Diving in Jamaica 

As much as it saddens me to say, I do not recommend scuba diving in Jamaica or at least with Secrets Montego Bay Resorts. Tony and I are both open water diver certified but we still like to go with a local dive master since they know the area better and are more experienced divers. We did two dives no too far off the shore of the resort going about 40-60 meters deep. Because of the huge over fishing problem Jamaica has, there were little fish to see. Instead we saw a large amount of fishing traps both active and broken. The corral life was also more disappointing as was the attitude of our dive master. PADI teaches us to not disrupt anything when you’re diving because it can be incredibly damaging to the corral and sea life. Our dive master however was very negligent with his fins and it made me really uncomfortable watching the small amount of destruction. We did see some beautiful fish and corral but it definitely did not compare to what we saw in Cozumel, Mexico. So if you’re on the fence about scuba diving in Montego Bay, I would just skip it.

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And I know my friends on the west coast already know this, but beach sunsets never get old!

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The last two nights we watched some pretty bad ass storms roll in with amazing lightening show that we watched from our balcony and ocean before I decided maybe I shouldn’t get hit by lightening just yet.

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On our departing morning we tried stand up paddle boarding… Tony was a natural… I was… well at least I didn’t fall. I decided I was much better at snorkeling for shells instead.

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Pros of staying in an all inclusive

  • No planning required – Yup, pretty much everything you need is provided for your
  • No worries about water – means you can shower, brush your teeth, drink, eat salads and pretty much pretend you’re in the good ole USA. Things you can’t really do if you’re traveling outside of the resort.
  • Safety and service – pretty much guaranteed within the resort

Cons of staying in an all inclusive

  • You lose your bargaining power – Most countries, particularly when you travel to more developing countries, haggling and bargaining is just part of the way of life. Unfortunately, its hard to bargain when everyone knows the resort you’re staying in, the prices they charge and the fact that you have no other options.
  • Everything from a resort is more expensive – Part of it because you lose your bargaining power and part of it because your options of activities are more limited since you’re more disconnected from the downtown area
  • You don’t really experience the culture – Being in a resort… well the country you’re in sort of becomes immaterial since everything you need is provided and most of the food even with the dining options is pretty much Americanized
  • You don’t get don’t get to meet interesting people – our resort was pretty low key with mostly honey mooners and older folk relaxing. There isn’t much activity to interact.
  • You lose the sense of adventure – Everything is planned, and relaxing… so you have no crazy stories to share… since that would not be very relaxing

Overall – Traveling to a resort during rainy season

Overall, Tony and I had a great and relaxing stay. For a change we didn’t leave the resort and just relaxes. It was a different type of vacation than our norm but sometimes you need one of these. We tried to do one activity a day before going back to being beach bums. We kayaked, snorkeled,  scuba and even tried stand up paddle boarding for a small bit. The rest of the trip, was spent eating which I’ll save the photos for another post. Would I do another 4 day all inclusive stay? Probably not, but I would consider adding two of these days at the end of an adventure trip.

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