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Running Roots

May 31, 2012

Tim and I have recently moved from our home in Palolo Valley further east of town in Hawaii Kai. I have been sentimental about leaving; I loved our place, the location, the view, and my well-trodded running routes. One of the biggest questions I had was: where will I run at our new place? Of course you can run anywhere, but I was familiar and comfortable with the quiet shaded neighborhoods of Palolo and Kaimuki. I thoroughly enjoyed my longer jaunts around Diamond Head, Kahala, and Manoa. Honestly I was afraid that I would not find routes that I loved that much.

In reality I knew in the back of my head that I was going to love my new neighborhood (pictured below). I would be within 1 mile of some of the most beautiful beaches, a protected bay renowned for snorkeling, plenty of hiking trails, and Koko Head crater (the largest hill in the photo) with butt-blasting 3/4, 1200 ft. gain trail to the top and a 2 mile loop trail inside the crater. But before I could feel at home in this place, I had to set some running roots (routes).

(source)

Moving was hellish as it always is, and the first couple days in our new place were a blur of packing and unpacking, cleaning, and appointments. Life was hectic and seemingly unmanageable until the third day at the new place, when I went for a run. I set out into neighboring Kalama Valley and then down towards Sandy Beach. The neighborhood was quiet and way more peaceful than any run I ever experienced in town. The view of the ocean and Sandy Beach was incredible, I was literally 20 feet away from the waves glistening in the morning sun. All around me were mountains and the ever-present Koko Head. The route was a wonderful 6 miles that felt like 2.

The next day (this morning) I set out to run on the trail that loops around the inside of Koko Head Crater and is a botanical garden. Trail running through a botanical garden inside a crater- does it get any better than that? The trail is a mere 1.5 miles from my house, so I can just step out my door and run there. There were 10’s of different colored plumeria trees in bloom, fun cacti, interesting plants from Africa, a Native Hawaiian section, and many birds. In a word, it was beautiful.

Now that I have two solid and lovely running routes, and much more to come in the near future, I feel comfortable putting down my roots and calling my new house a home.

In other running news, I have registered for TWO marathons in the upcoming months!

First one up is in September, the Maui Marathon. The Maui Marathon is a point-to-point race that starts in Kahului and ends in Lahaina, covering 17 ocean-front miles. We are talking 17 miles run within 50 feet of the ocean! It has been voted one of the 10 most beautiful races in the United States.

And the second marathon is the Honolulu Marathon in December. This will be my second time doing the Honolulu Marathon, which runs around downtown Honolulu, around Diamond Head, out to Hawaii Kai, and back to Kapiolani Park.

Hibiscus Half Marathon

May 27, 2012

Today I ran the Hibiscus Half Marathon. It was a perfect morning for running in Hawaii; cool and overcast with intermittent drizzles.  Most races here start unbelievably early, this one had a 5:30 a.m. start time and I had to pick up my timing chip by 5:00. I bounded out of bed at 3:30 (I thought the alarm would never go off), made some toast with almond butter and banana, and drank an iced coffee. I drove a few miles to the start and enjoyed the local college radio’s “after party” show, there’s nothing like some bassy dub step at 4:30 in the morning! I picked up my timing chip easily and then proceeded to wait 20 minutes in line to use the bathroom. The smaller races here never have porta-potties, so all the ladies were waiting to use 3 stalls in a public park bathroom…. great!

I made it in and out in time and hopped in the starting lane. I tend to always start too far back in the pack, I like to give myself some room to breathe. This came back to bite me today because I felt that I had to run the first 1.5 miles much slower than I would have liked to. We circled around Kapiolani Park and headed up Diamond Head, running up the biggest incline of the race during the second mile.

  • Mile 1- 9:09
  • Mile 2- 8:49

We plateaued up on Diamond Head road and got a glimpse of the ocean and the early morning surf. I felt myself getting into the groove and passing the herds of people in miles 3 and 4.

  • Mile 3- 8:19
  • Mile 4- 8:03

The race headed down Kilauea Ave., through Kahala and out onto Kalanianaole Hwy. I was feeling so strong and so surprised that the pace I was holding was relatively comfortable.

  • Mile 5- 8:10
  • Mile 6- 8:16
  • Mile 7- 8:09

The turnaround came around mile 7.5 and we headed on Kalanianaole back towards Diamond Head. It felt so good to be running and the thought occurred to me that I may have been too conservative in the first half of the race. There was nothing I could do about it, so I decided to just push harder in the second half.

  • Mile 8- 7:56
  • Mile 9- 7:57

I drank gatorade at every other aid station, rotating with water, and ate a gel at about mile 9. Those things are golden, a little sugar and a little caffeine really go a long way! We started coming back into Kahala, down Kahala Ave.

  • Mile 10- 7:51
  • Mile 11- 7:56

Towards the end of mile 11 and beginning of mile 12 we starting climbing Diamond Head again, the last hill of the race. After getting to the top was the glorious downhill into the finish at Kapiolani Park.

  • Mile 12- 7:35
  • Mile 13-7:17
  • .1- 35 sec.

 

According to my Garmin I finished in 1:46:03, an improvement of over 2 minutes from my last half marathon in March. I am really happy that I improved, and I really felt that my training paid off for this race.

While I feel good about my performance, there is a nagging feeling that I could have done better, pushed myself harder. I ran the first half of the race in about 55 minutes, while I ran the second half in about 51 minutes. That is kind of a huge negative split and if I had that much steam in the end, I could have picked it up from the beginning. The good thing is that I get to do it all over again in two weeks when I run the North Shore Half Marathon in Illinois. I will be looking to beat my time and be under 1:45 there!

Manana Trail

May 25, 2012

The idea of trail running has been stewing in my mind for some time now, but I keep finding excuses to keep putting it off. I don’t have trail running shoes, and why buy them if I am not sure if I will use them? I might hurt myself by falling or twist an ankle, and put my road races in jeopardy. The inclines…..

Then graduate school ended, and I made a proclamation to do the things that I put off because I didn’t have enough time. This coincided with the delivery of a Runner’s World Special: The Trail, which had an article entitled “No More Excuses”, which I am pretty sure they published just for me.

  • Excuse #4: It’ll disrupt my training or race schedule

To which they say, “On the contrary, mixing in wilderness workouts with your regular road or race training can make you stronger, more well-rounded, and even healthier. Plus, you’ll never get bored. At the end of the day, you can run longer and have fewer aches and pains on the softer terrain of trails. What’s more, even though trail running is easier on your body, it will actually strengthen neglected parts and work a wider range of muscles.”

  • Excuse #5: I don’t have the right gear

“For your first few outings on the trail, you don’t need much beyond what you’d wear on the road: seat-wicking clothes and running shoes. Road shoes are fine for a short run to see if you like it, if you end up wanting to spend more time on the trail, it’s worth investing in trail shoes.”

The article voided my excuses and pushed me out the door. Last weekend I ran some trails up on Tantalus mountain, but I am still trying to find a good route up there, so I will talk about it later. Today I headed out to Manana Trail, which is above Pearl City on the Leeward side of Oahu. To get there you take the H1 and get off on the Pearl City/Waimalu exit, turn right on Moanalua Rd. at the end of the ramp, right on Waimano Home Rd., then left onto Komo Mai Rd. and follow it until the end and park on the residential street.

The trail starts out nice, wide, and wooded.

You do a little climbing, a little descending. It is nice and shaded, but look out for the tree roots. Eventually you emerge onto the top of the ridge.

And as you proceed along the ridge, the trees give way to grass which allows for amazing views of the summit, Waianae Mountains, the ocean, and Pearl Harbor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This open grassy section was so cool to run through because it is very atypical of most mountain ridges, which are either covered in trees and/or ferns. There was also no huge elevation gains or drops and it made for very nice running.

After about 2.25 miles there is a really nice covered picnic table, then at 2.5 miles the part of the maintained trail ends and the trail has much more ups and downs as it snakes along the ridge towards the summit. I went beyond the sign for about .5 mile and couldn’t run on much of the section. I also fell pretty hard on a descent because I was wearing my road running shoes (the only injury I sustained was to my arm, so it’s all good). If I go any further next time I will be sure to have proper trail running shoes, but the 2.5 mile out and back, making it about 5 miles total was totally sufficient and enjoyable.

I love, love, loved this trail and look forward to running on it again soon!

Tech-Free Tuesdays

May 23, 2012

“The television went from being a babysitter to a mistress. Technology made it easy for us to stay in touch while keeping a distance. So we just stayed distant and never touched, now all we do is text too much.” – Sage Francis

Being in school kept Tim and I glued to our computers sun up to sun down. We were constantly having to research, study, or write. Granted not ALL of our time on the laptop was spent actually doing the schoolwork we were intending to do (thank you blogs and facebook), but all of this work, and procrastination from work, was a necessary evil that resulted from being in college and graduate school. I lamented this situation and felt the need to “unplug”, but always had something to work on.

Well, now that Tim and I are done with school we have implemented something I’ve dreamed about doing, Technology-Free Tuesdays, one day of the week where all after-work hours will be void of computers and television (we don’t have a t.v., but we do watch shows sometimes on Hulu). These days will remove the buffer of the laptop, and make us break out of our habit of coming home and plugging in.

Yesterday was our first tech-free Tuesday, and it was a nice evening. We did some reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And made a feast; quinoa, marinated and baked tofu, bean salad, and roasted kabocha squash.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We spent time out on the lanai, just sitting and watching the clouds go by. We went to bed really early. It was nice. I am envisioning more evening walks, or frisbee in the future. Tech-free Tuesday will give us a chance to break the stronghold of the internet, something that I allow, but feel disconcerted with.

I would like to apply the concept in a stricter sense, too, because yesterday after work I did run on a treadmill with an ipod, but baby steps. I can easily take my runs outside, sans music and garmin. Maybe I’ll devote Tuesdays to hitting the trails, the possibilities are endless, and I am excited.

Do you feel tied to your computer/laptop? Does it bother you to be on the internet so much? Have you come up with any solutions to this issue?

Resurrection

May 20, 2012

Wow, it’s been a while. My last post was in November, more than 6 months ago. My extended hiatus from blogging was a mirror of my life as a whole- I’ve felt like I have been on a hiatus from living. Now I am being a tad dramatic, but being in graduate school and teaching full time really hasn’t left me with a lot of extra time.

Well I graduated on May 11th and can already feel the tides of change. I have more free time, more mental energy, and more motivation to get out there and live life to the fullest. I want to continue blogging in an effort to chronicle and inspire my new found free time. I want to fill this time with adventures in the physical and outdoor type.

I have already been to the beach more in the past two weeks than I have since January… sad I know, but like I said, things are changing. I have explored some hiking trails that I have never been on. I went on an epic kayak/hike adventure out and to the top of Chinaman’s hat.

 

 

I have a renewed spirit and sense of adventure that I would love to share here. Instead of writing to-do lists of school work I need to finish, I am writing to-do lists of excursions. Here are a few things I plan to do in the near future.

  • Hibiscus Half-Marathon- Honolulu, HI- May 27th
  • Visit Boulder, Colorado in June
  • North Shore Half-Marathon, Deerfield, IL- June 10th
  • Hike Konahuanui (the highest mountain in the Koolau range)
  • get into trail running so I can run…
  • Xterra Freedom Fest 10K Trail Run- Kualoa, HI- July 7th
  • go to the beach!
  • kayak
  • try CrossFit
  • train for the Honolulu Marathon

It is going to be a great summer and a great beginning to life after graduate school!

Day of Birth

November 7, 2011

Today I am thankful for my parents. It’s my birthday, and I am greatful that they brought me into existence.

Love you Mom and Dad!

Although it’s my birthday, today will be fairly normal; teaching, running, not much else. I celebrated over the weekend when Tim took me out to this amazing restaurant, Town. I wanted to enjoy the evening and not worry about depicting the culinary adventure. The written recap will not do it justice, but here goes- ulu soup, arugula, mac nut, mandarin orange, and goat cheese salad, kabocha risotto, and root vegetable gnocchi. All of it tasted so fresh and amazing. It was a great birthday treat.

Have a good beginning to the work week, it is a short one with a holiday on Friday. I am looking forward to camping this weekend!

A Step Forward a Step Back

November 5, 2011

According to my training plan, I was supposed to run 19 miles this weekend. But, after a whole week off from running I felt that I needed to step back my ambitions and go for something in the lower teens. I was just not feeling ready to run 19 miles, but I think next weekend I will be there, so I essentially swapped weeks in my training plan. No big deal.

It was a cool, overcast, and intermittently rainy morning, which made for a comfortable run. One downfall was that my iPod shuffle died after 3.5 miles! I swear that thing has issues, I charged it for such a long time last night. I should probably bring it into apple or just get a new one. This was my longest run without music and it wasn’t that bad, but I definitely missed it. I feel like I run faster with some musical motivation.

14 miles in 2:04, can’t complain. I felt a bit slower than usual, but I think after this past week and upcoming week I will get my fitness back to where it was before taking a break. I’d like to see my average min./mile to be under 9.

This morning’s post-run smoothie was a special one! It was my first use of the giant shipment of pumpkin I received yesterday.

Blended to perfection:

  • 1/2 cup frozen pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup soymilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon maca
  • A big shake of cinnamon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I am thankful for upcoming life changes. Within the next month several things will change for me in different facets of my life, and I welcome this changes with open arms and am thankful that they are coming soon.