Each month, we’ll be checking in with our two athletes of the year, Melanie and Joff.  This week we’ll hear how Mel’s training has been going!  Remember to support Melanie by posting comments of support at the bottom of this post, or on Twitter (@melwargowski).

I spent January traveling the caribbean with my husband, Matt. We sailed the British Virgin Islands, explored Puerto Rico, and then spent a long weekend in Miami. After four months of intense base-building at the end of 2013, the trip gave us much-needed time to relax both physically and mentally. It also gave us the opportunity to escape the polar vortexes that blasted the region – my sincere condolences to everyone who had to battle through those relentless temperatures!

During the time away, I learned a lot about how to listen to my body. My goals were to move when my body craved it, eat intuitively, and take time to rest when my body needed to. Each of those were challenging at first, but by the end of the trip I felt much more in touch with what my body was asking for. Human bodies are some of the most amazing machines – we just have to learn how to keep them running well!

Finding new and creative ways to exercise is one of my favorite parts of traveling. Jogging new streets, renting city bikes, hiking to find the best views – there are so many options! I used to feel stuck when I was away from my gym and the equipment I was used to, until I learned how fun it can be to step out of my routine. For example, I didn’t run as many miles in January as I usually do, but I climbed many more miles of steep mountain roads instead. I traded laps in the swimming pool for boat-to-boat swim races with my travel buddies. I used playground equipment to do pull-ups and bench jumps. There are always ways to get active if we’re willing to get a little creative.

Resting is my other favorite part of traveling (I know I’m not alone here!) It’s just as important to let our bodies relax and recover as it is to be active. That’s hard to keep in mind sometimes; with everything we have to juggle, finding time to be still is difficult! I struggled to quiet my mind during the first few days of our vacation. I was worried about resting too much, and losing everything I’d worked toward over the previous few months. What I experienced was actually the opposite – my body needed and appreciated the rest, and I came home feeling much better than I did when I left.

With vacation behind me, I’m excited to re-establish a routine and start preparing for higher-intensity training this summer. I’m honored to be sharing this journey with all of you; thanks for your continued support!