Jun 30

VITA AdVentures in Portugal – Sit and Rock

Years ago, when I was even more of a crazy motivated sweat junkie, I made an appointment with a registered dietician to help with the fueling part of my workouts.  Back then, I was heavy into marathon training.  I qualified for Boston (3:30) on my second try, and then ran three marathons (including Boston) in one year.  I do not recommend doing this.  After the second marathon in Burlington, VT (which was only weeks after Boston) I came down with bronchitis but still ran Hartford several months later.


In the midst of this insanity training and racing, I met with renowned sports nutritionist to the elite, Nancy Clark.  Now, I was not an elite by any means, but I had the ability to get an appointment with Nancy in nearby Boston, and who would pass up that opportunity?  I was actually ready to be praised by her for my discipline, hard work and tenacity.  Instead, she looked over my pre-filled-out paperwork on my training and eating habits and said “Why can’t you just sit and rock?”  I have never forgotten it.  She thought I needed some serious downtime and she was absolutely right.

I like to think I’ve learned a lot since those days, and I now like to take my relaxing very seriously, which is why I decided to book a resort in Portugal for my post-World Championship race recovery.


We came to Obidos, Portugal by way of Porto.  You heard about the parking debacle we ran into there, but Porto itself was named by The Huffington Post as one of the top “Overlooked European Cities You Must Visit In Your Lifetime.” No doubt.  It was historic, gorgeous and filled with amazing food:

photo 1-8 photo 2-6


Still, Obidos was my favorite part of Portugal, by far.  First, there was the most amazing beach I’ve ever seen…with surfers:



The boys, hand in hand, going down to run from the waves.

The boys, hand in hand, going down to run from the waves.



Then, we explored “downtown” Obidos which, much to the boys delight, had a real castle.  And, much to our delight, had some great shops and restaurants.  It was like being transported back in time:




Coolest bookstore ever!

Coolest bookstore ever!

Needless to say, I had ample time to “sit and rock” and I enjoyed every moment.  I’m still wrestling with what race/training I want to do next, but I’m not overly anxious about it.  After attending and speaking at FitBloggin‘ (a fitness blogger conference) this weekend in Savannah, I was inspired to do A LOT.  I will definitely be posting and talking about my experiences there and all the great people I met, famous and otherwise, but right now I’m just going to sit and rock on it a little more…

Do you take the time to sit and just be?

Best place you’ve been on vacation to relax and have serious downtime?


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  1. Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness

    Even more of a sweat junkie??? WHAAAAT? Just kidding. I love those pics. Now I have to go! My hubby and I are both a little fearful of flying over the ocean like that but I know it’s a necessary evil if we want to be more adventurous. I can’t wait to hear about Fitbloggin. I really want to attend one some year. Hopefully there will be one close enough to Buffalo again.
    Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness recently posted…Ride For Roswell RecapMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I know – can you imagine? I didn’t have kids so I had a lot more time!
      You know I have a horrible fear of flying and I was absolutely fine. Those huge planes they fly overseas are like floating hotel rooms with TVs, movies, snacks, pillows, blankets – you’ll love it.
      FitBloggin is in Denver next year so… but maybe you can do an Ignite speech and have your ticket paid for!?

      1. Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness

        That may work!
        Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness recently posted…Ride For Roswell RecapMy Profile

  2. Angela @ Happy Fit Mama

    My best sit and rock vacation was in St Thomas/St John for our babymoon. Out butts were parked in the sand 90% of the time. It was awesome! But now I need to sit and rock in Spain. Looks gorgeous!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted…Strawberry Chocolate Chip Frozen YogurtMy Profile

    1. vita88

      That sounds lovely! So glad you enjoyed some rocking before the twins came 🙂

  3. jill conyers

    I have a hard time just sitting and rocking but I know I need to. I’m working on it 🙂
    jill conyers recently posted…What’s For Dinner?My Profile

    1. vita88

      I hear you!! It’s definitely hard but I feel better when I do…like taking medicine or doing PT exercises.

  4. Janine Huldie

    Looked like the perfect place to relax and will say that I love just being able to relax in the evening in my own bedroom reading on my iPad. Best and most quiet place and time of the day.
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Bugs Are Not For Lily…My Profile

    1. vita88

      I also love to read. I actually didn’t mind my flight home that much because I was so involved in my book!

  5. Alison

    I am the sit and rock expert, dude! 🙂
    I’m glad you had down time. It’s just as important as training hard.
    Obidos looks GORGEOUS.
    Alison recently posted…Things I’m Afraid To Tell You: Volume IIIMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Ha ha ha – yes you are! And Obidos is freakin amazing. I highly recommend it!

  6. Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama

    Sit and rock. On a gorgeous beach. With beautiful places to explore with your kids. Sounds like the perfect reward for your months of training, dedication, and sacrifice. I’m so glad you took advantage of your trip to create memories with your family. Can’t wait to hear all about your trip to FitBloggin’! Savannah definitely counts as Sultry South!
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted…Struttin’ in Style with Kuhl Stella TankMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I’m so glad I did it too. I couldn’t see past that race for so long and then, once I booked that hotel, I would dream about it being over and sitting there. The problem is, I’m still dreaming about sitting there!!
      Oh yes, I was sweating buckets in Savannah!!!

  7. thedoseofreality

    That is simply STUNNING Allie. I can see how it would be easy to just sit and rock there…WOW. And you spoke at FitBloggin…you are AMAZING my friend!! What an incredible journey you have had this summer! :)-Ashley
    thedoseofreality recently posted…Would You Rather: Be Hot And Dry Or Cold And Wet?My Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks Ashley! It’s been pretty SCARY but I’ve done it. Which is why I need more sitting and rocking!

  8. Amanda - RunToTheFinish

    WOW A meeting with Nancy clark, I would have gone in knowing probably what she’d say too 🙂

    Ok so I’m trying to recap my France trip and have to know didn’t you find this so hard?! I’m like I have these photos, but they just don’t really show you how amazing it was!
    Amanda – RunToTheFinish recently posted…Do you make these 6 race day mistakes?My Profile

    1. vita88

      I know!!! The photos will never do it justice – although I’m enjoying ALL of yours. It was very hard and I could have easily done 5 posts just on Obidos! Looking forward to your recap and more photos – of course!

  9. Britt@MyOwnBalance

    Oh my gosh! This looks amazing! I love the resort! I love the beach! I love the castle! Everything just looks so wonderful! You definitely did a good job of sitting and relaxing!

    My problem is that “relaxing” usually involves doing 100 things that I think are fun. Sitting and doing nothing is hard but I’m trying to force myself to do that at the beach this month!
    Britt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…MyYogaWorks + One Month of Free YogaMy Profile

    1. vita88

      You really should. Maybe you can do what I did – exhaust yourself (in the most pregnancy friendly way possible) so that you actually WANT to just relax. Also – you need to enjoy your downtime before that baby comes 🙂

  10. Jaclyn @ BumpSweat

    Gorgeous photos! That pool looks incredible! I could do some serious relaxing laying out there 🙂
    Jaclyn @ BumpSweat recently posted…{MIMM #1} First Baby Shower + Daddy J’s TriathlonMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I basically made it my job. It was pretty easy in that setting and no one else was doing anything either 🙂

  11. Kristen

    Wow…looks amazing! I love to sit and relax in the mountains. I can’t wait to head north this week. But I did have a moment like yours yesterday in the pool. Sometimes i love to just watch my kids play and have fun. So glad you had a great trip – the beach looks fantastic!
    Kristen recently posted…4 Simple Patriotic DessertsMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks Kristen! You must be so looking forward to heading to the lake. I hope you post some pictures of your adventures!

  12. Tina Muir

    I am loving all these pictures of your adventure, you are giving us a sneak peak of your trip and it is wonderful! I am definitely bad at sitting and allowing myself to just be, but I am working on it, and I am slowly learning to relax which is good for me….and I am sure will be even better for my running. I am sure you will have plenty more adventures like this to share with us in the future, and I look forward to it 🙂
    Tina Muir recently posted…Meatless Monday: Spiralized Pizza on the GrillMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks Tina! I’m glad to know that you’re not so good at “just being.” Maybe it’s just part of being an athlete??? Probably, but like you said, it helps our running – no matter what level we’re at!

  13. Dana

    I am going to sit and rock next week at the beach – I can’t wait! I need it, my kids need it – I plan on being so relaxed that I may just puddle onto the floor. It won’t be as beautiful as Portugal, but it will be pretty darn awesome.
    Dana recently posted…I’ll never usually means I will eventuallyMy Profile

    1. vita88

      That is great news! We all need puddle time 🙂 Enjoy!

  14. Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama

    Obidos looks phenomenal I love all the pictures! I am also very happy that the Portugal recaps weren’t over with the race! I was sad and I thought that was the end, then you give me this GEM! 🙂 So much fun hanging with you this weekend, its official–you are one of my sisters from another misters. Come to the philly BBC! That way we can hang again even if for a little while and you can give me some tips because I just committed to my first 10k 2 weeks after that! Back to your question: The last time I sat and rocked was 2 month before my wedding when my grandfather passed away and we were all in Jamaica…it was a sad time but it was such a joyous time spent with my family…ah that makes me want to sit and rock right now!
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…The One With The Case Of Stage FrightMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I’m not sure I can even type! It’s official? We’re sisters? Best news ever 🙂 It was so, so great seeing you for 4 whole days and getting to hang out and talk and laugh. I was planning on going to BBC Philly but then one of my best friends announced her wedding on THAT DAY! Oh well. Hopefully I’ll get in to the NYC Meet and Tweet or I’ll find another reason to come to NYC!
      I’m sorry about your grandfather. It’s most often though tragedy that we get the perspective to sit and rock. And yes, I wish I could do it all day today!

  15. Kim

    LOVE every single one of those pictures!!! The beach pictures all make me happy and the bookstore is pretty great, too!
    I can’t wait to hear about your time at FitBloggin” – wish I could have heard you speak!!!
    Kim recently posted…3 Recent ScaresMy Profile

    1. vita88

      It was really so amazing to lay on that beach and just lay!
      It won’t be the same but I’m pretty sure they put the videos of the speeches on YouTube so I’ll be sure to track it down… 🙂 Thanks Kim!

  16. Tamara

    I don’t! It seems to be all or nothing with me. So bad.
    On Saturday when we were at Scarlet’s birthday party, and had been sleepless and broke planning it, my father-in-law stood next to me and we talked about how we’re going to the Cape Cod house in a few weeks. I said, “I think.. I just want to sleep the whole time. And read.”
    And my in-laws said, “I hope you do. We’ll watch the kids.”
    Here’s hoping we can all stand by our words!
    Tamara recently posted…Are We For Real?My Profile

    1. vita88

      Are there sweeter words ever spoken??? You should absolutely try! I’m so sorry we missed Scarlet’s party. I hope you post about it. Or not – whatever you want… 🙂 I just hope it was magical for her!

  17. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    This looks amazing! I need to go sit and rock somewhere. I need to travel. I have heard such amazing things about Portugal and want to visit for sure. I also can’t wait to hear about Fitbloggin!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…38 Lessons in 38 YearsMy Profile

    1. vita88

      It’s a great place for kids too! There’s so much for them to do, that you CAN sit and rock.
      FitBloggin’ was a great experience on so many different levels. I’m still trying to digest it all.

  18. Jess@Flying Feet In Faith

    Hmmm…sit and rock. I like that phrase! I can’t recall the last time I did that…between working full time, an active runner, mother, and planning a wedding I always feel wiped out! I NEED a sit and rock WEEK! So ready for the honeymoon in Oct! 😉 beautiful pictures by the way!
    Jess@Flying Feet In Faith recently posted…#MotivationalMonday: Baby Carrots and Baby StepsMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Can you imagine a whole week of sitting and rocking? I truly hope you get to do that on your honeymoon!!! Thanks Jess.

  19. Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

    I really need to sit down and be more often. My boys are so incredibly busy it is hard! When they go to bed at night I need to catch up on a million things around the house nevermind sitting down and catching up on all of my blogging stuff. But I enjoy that, so I don’t look at it as work. That resort looks amazing…and that beach? So jealous! I need a break!

    1. vita88

      I hear you! My nights have turned into major catch-up and clean up and THEN I sit down to do (more) blog work. It’s getting nutty!! I thought the summer would be a good time to slow down, but it seems like everything is sped up!

  20. Kimberly (Manifest Yourself)

    Time to relax is always good. My favorite place to do that is in the spa at Hotel Viana in Westbury, NY.

    I feel after FitBloggin.. and especially your Ignite… I am ready to turn up and reach some new goals. I started my competition diet today. 🙂
    Kimberly (Manifest Yourself) recently posted…Journey to Wellness: Bikini Competitions + @DietBetMy Profile

    1. vita88

      WOOOOOOHOOOOOO!!!! I could not respond to this fast enough! I am here for you – whatever you need. I know you can do this and I want to be a part of your journey. Take it one day at a time and you will be golden!

  21. GiGi Eats

    So I just yelped OUT LOUD “Oh my Gosh!” THESE PHOTOS – breath taking. My envy – THROUGH THE ROOF!!!!!! I WANT TO GO SO BADLY, I cry! I cry I tell you!! I need travel, RIGHT NOW! I wish my Chevy Traverse was also a hover craft! I would pick you up and we could go back over to Portugal! LOL!
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Traversing Los Angeles with Stacy! #ChevyFitTripMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Make it happen!!!!

  22. Karen @BakingInATornado

    What absolutely stunning pictures. They’re a testament to the healing powers of learning how to sit and rock!
    Karen @BakingInATornado recently posted…That’s My KidMy Profile

    1. vita88

      You said it! I wish I could teleport back as needed…

  23. Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life

    I will admit I am not very good about downtime. But it’s important. Your pictures are beautiful. We have a very good friend who is from Portugal and his father has a home there. Whenever they go back, the pictures they share are beautiful.
    Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life recently posted…Fruity Summer Drinks: Strawberry Pineapple ColadaMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Oh how I wish I had a house there. Maybe they can adopt me? The boys were asking just yesterday when we’re going back!

  24. Tara Newman

    What a gorgeous time you had. Apparently, I have sat and rocked either so now I am doing A LOT of sitting and consequently rocking (as in crazy person rocking). It’s good for the head. Since we aren’t the sit and rock type of people we have yet to take a truly relaxing vacation. However, we go to mystic every year and stay in the cabins at the KOA and it is really relaxing. They have a ton of stuff for the kids to occupy themselves with. And I am hoping to get some beach time in Lake Placid.
    Tara Newman recently posted…14 Lessons for 14 Years of MarriageMy Profile

    1. vita88

      There is no ying without yang unfortunately for our personality types! Relaxing in a cabin at Mystic sounds wonderful, and you should definitely schedule some beach time in Placid!!

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