Arizona Trip Recap & Quitting the Whole30 Early

Ahhh, vacation!

After a few delays in Boston I finally arrived in Phoenix just after 10pm (midnight in Boston time, ahh!) and immediately felt the warmth of the air and it put a huge smile on my face. YES.

Our first order of business was a blissful spa day at the Well & Being Spa at the Scottsdale Princess Resort.

After changing into robes and a wonderful massage, my mother and I spent the day catching up and relaxing before our afternoon mani/pedi’s in the salon. I have always wanted to do a spa day with her and I’m so happy I finally did! The only down side is that now I want to do it all over again. Sorry, savings account.


The spa complex at Well & Being was unlike anything I have ever seen before: several large pool, whirlpools, waterfalls, saunas, steam rooms, work out areas among other options. A member of the staff said that the facility alone is 4,500 square feet, wow! My mother had never had a massage before, which as a nearly 67 year old woman is hard to believe. Her massage therapist told her “we all treat our things better than our bodies, just think of it like an oil change for your car” She makes a good point, doesn’t she?

Trying out the GoPro ๐Ÿ™‚ Nice skinny arm, mom!


 We left the spa refreshed, big smiles plastered on our faces and feeling a little more spiffy after our massages, healthy lunch, whirlpools and mani/pedis! I highly recommend this spa to anyone looking to do a day like this in the Scottsdale area, it was fantastic. 

Quitting the Whole30

After day one in Arizona I made the decision to end my quest with the Whole30 15 days early. Everything was going very well, except for the fact that I was having some GI discomfort caused by something in the diet and I really wanted to enjoy my much needed break. I rarely “quit” things, so this was hard to do, but I am so happy I did. There are a few culprits I suspect are to blame for this reaction: 1) this is all part of the plan and my gut is “healing” itself, 2) the increase in meat in-take was a bit of a shock to the system, 3) Coconut milk. This is the only thing that I added to my diet during this time, so naturally I would suspect this, 4) I wasn’t drinking enough water. I don’t think this is humanly possible since I have been accused of being “addicted to water”, but perhaps with the diet changes my body needed more water. Most likely I think it is probably a combination of all 4 factors, but the one that stuck out to me was coconut milk in my coffee.

Even though I ended the formal Whole30 program while on vacation, I still maintained a diet as close to the Whole30 as possible, with the exception of coconut milk in my daily coffee. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has fresh almond milk so I opted for that and felt a million times better after the first day. Has anyone else ever had any strange Whole30 side effects? I am planning on restarting at day 1 with the Whole30 at some point in the future, but I would love to do more research.

Whole30 Pros

  • I was able to kick my coffee sweetener once and for all. Huge win. I have wanted to do this for a long time.
  • I am 100% lactose intolerant and really should never eat it. The Whole30 confirmed that I really should just never eat cheese. When I do, I make myself miserable.
  • I will most likely never eat corn again. 
  • I really don’t miss processed/fake foods. Not that I ate too much processed food before the Whole30, but knowing that I couldn’t eat it during the program made me blind to it around me.
  • I miss carbs like toast, but I can easily live without them.
  • Feeling “lighter” and less sluggish is pretty great.

Whole30 Cons

  • Constant food preparation necessary. NEVER ENDING CHOPPING.
  • Difficulty eating out, especially while on vacation. Especially in a city with so much Mexican food!
  • The amount of meat I had to consume on the program. Now I know to expect this, but it was a bit of a shock.
  • My coconut milk reaction. 
  • Having people react “OMG you do not need to diet!” 

I look forward to starting the program back up again, but for now I’m enjoying my semi-Whole30 diet until I decide when I’m going to officially get back in the saddle. Luckily, ending the Whole30 early meant that I felt better and really enjoyed the entire trip. 

The next day we ventured to Sedona and stayed at The Enchantment Resort, per the recommendation of a few people that we met. All I can say is: WOW.

The scenes driving into Sedona are breath-taking….


 The view from our balcony at the Enchantment


 Hiking in Boynton’s Canyon on the Enchantment property



I couldn’t get enough of the surroundings and forced my mom into hiking two days in a row. She was a trooper and I *think* had a lot of fun. It was such a treat to get outside during the winter months and get some vitamin D!

We left Sunday afternoon after grabbing lunch in downtown Sedona. What an adorable little town. We got back just in time to watch the Patriots game and go out to dinner in Scottsdale. 

On Monday, since my back had seemed to settled down, despite all of the time spent sitting while traveling, I tried my hand at my first run back since before I strained my back on January 2. What an accomplishment! I decided to run with my Garmin to track my heart rate and tried my hardest to make sure it did not go over my MAF. Since I have been relegated to minimal physical activity, rather than feel frustrated with starting from scratch again, I focused on enjoying the feeling of running again.

Sun on my face. REAL sweat. Endorphins. HAPPY PLACE.

I knew my pace was dreadful, but that wasn’t the point. Staying healthy and having fun is the point! I ended up covering 3.3 miles and my back felt great the entire time. Mission accomplished.

Scottsdale parks, with a view of Camelback Mountain in the background


Running in shorts. In January. BLISS!!!


After my successful run, my mom and I went to Last Chance, aka the scariest shopping experience of my life. It is a Nordstrom close-out store and people throw elbows and have zero regard for personal space or human decency when they have a prized pair of Tory Burch heels in their sites! Close-out shopping agoraphobia aside, I ended up scoring some great deals on work appropriate shoes for next to nothing and even a pair for my husband. To decompress, my mom and I had lunch at Chelsea’s Kitchen and I had the most delicious brussel sprouts and roasted chicken salad. Hooray for healthy options. That afternoon we went to the Desert Botanical Garden, which was full of more varieties of cactus, aloe and agave than I ever knew existed.




On Tuesday, after another successful slow and steady MAF run of 3.5 miles around the parks (and a “holy S%&# I just ran two days in a row!” moment), I showered and kicked around Scottsdale and then went to the airport and we were on our way back to Boston. I was so happy that I was able to experience a small slice of my brother’s life in Arizona, the pampering of the spa, beauty of the outdoors in Sedona and the fun quirks of Scottsdale. I can’t wait to head back!

The only regrets of the trip are that:

  • I didn’t plan to run the Arizona Rock & Roll race while I was out there! I will definitely be trying to plan a return trip around that race next year.
  • I never got the chance to scope out the IMAZ course, mostly because my mother didn’t find a lot of interest in that, I wonder why?!
  • I somehow do not have any photos of my shy older brother we were visiting.

Huge wins:

  • Coming back to craziness at work (not awesome) and feeling refreshed and relaxed (awesome).
  • Creating new and positive experiences with my mother.
  • Checking out a new area of the country.
  • Feeling great after a few days of misery related to the Whole30.
  • Finally being able to get out for TWO pain-free runs!!!
  • I can now get back to blogging about actual workouts, rather than dreaming about it!

Have you tried to Whole30 and had a similar reaction to mine? I would love to know! What are your favorite tips for recovering from an injury?!


  1. says

    Ahhhh, what a lovely sunshiny trip! The spa day with your mom looks so relaxing! Glad to hear you had a great time! I’ve only been to Arizona once, but it was enough to know that I’d love to visit often ๐Ÿ™‚

    I did two Whole30s back when it first launched (I was a CrossFit fanatic). For me, the GI distress was from too much meat and far too many nuts. I ate so many almonds and cashews (both in butter form and just plain salted nuts), and my GI hated me. I think it’s a good program in that it teaches people to eat real food, but I don’t follow it strictly anymore (I love gluten-free toast and coconut rice too much!). Bummer about the coconut milk! It’s a staple in my diet (love it in my espresso!), so I’d be sad if I had to give it up. I recently realized that most of my GI distress the past five years was likely eggs. I gave them up a few months ago and haven’t had a problem since!

    Oh, and hip hip hooray for your return to running!

    • kim says

      Ahh that is so interesting about the nuts! I didn’t really up my nut consumption too much, but it is something to consider. I definitely worry about the volume of meat required with the diet, so I’m glad I’m not alone ๐Ÿ™‚ I definitely agree that it’s a great program to teach people to eat real food and how great you can feel when you cut out all of the added sugar and processed fake food! I avoided most of that to begin with so I didn’t have the “life changing” experience. It’s always good to try new things though!

      I am dying to get back to AZ, next time with my bike!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. says

    I absolutely love Scottsdale. One of my good friends moved there a couple years ago, so I have been down to visit a few times. I was actually there for IMAZ in 2013 and got to watch the athletes in action. Looks like a fast course!

    I canโ€™t believe your mom has NEVER had a massage before. Wow! I hope she enjoyed every second and will consider spoiling herself more often.

    Hmmm, Iโ€™ve started drinking more coconut milk in the past couple weeks and have noticed some uncomfortable GI issues as well. I wonder what about it might be causing this. Any ideas?

    Why wonโ€™t you eat corn again?

    It looks like you had a really great time in the AZ sun!

  3. says

    Not sure how I missed this post!! I am so glad that you had a great trip! The sun was amazing that weekend!! Definitely next year you should do RNR and we can meet up!!!
    You didn’t really miss much not seeing the IMAZ course. It is pretty boring. It is 3 loops. Everyone says it is flat and it is mostly but on the bike there is a slight incline on the way out of town and decline on the way back. On the run it is mostly flat but you are going up and down ramps which is a little annoying but it breaks it up a bit. I have also heard that they changed the run to 2 loops and when I did it…it was 3 loops. Fast course and great spectator/volunteer support!
    I have never even heard of Whole30 so I have nothing on that front!! Good luck with your second round!! Awesome runs too!!!

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