Sunday, February 6, 2011

Land of the Lost

I'm baaaaack!
As earlier noted, I was slatted to start Pfitz 12/55 for Boston on 1/24. I had been having some strong running weeks leading up to that, except for getting sick right after my birthday. The only really issue with starting my plan on 1/24 was, and I know this is a totally hardship, I was going to be in Hawaii.
I'll pass for a minute so you can all really grasp the difficulty in this.

Ok. I think we're all ready to move forward. I, of course, had every intention of running while in HI since it would be warm and I could wear just 1 layer. And I did run. A totally of 11 miles.
The day we got there, it was late. We stayed in some dumpy hotel in Kona and I figured we'd be up early with jetlag and get a run in. Sure enough, I was up at 5 and we were out before the sun was up. We weren't alone. HI is the land of run before the sun is up (for sane people anyway). Kona is also the land of Ironman and even in Jan. full of fit people working out. We saw a lot of people out running at that hour. We'd also see lots of people out riding on the Queen K, the highway where the bike portion on the Ironman is. Thing about that road is: 1. it's not pretty 2. it's hotter than HELL 3. it's windy. I wouldn't want to ride on it. Which leads to the usual question: If I ever (HA!) qualified for Kona, would I do the race. I've never had any desire to. I also have no realistic shot of ever getting in so it's not a serious concern. I think it's safe to say I'd pass on that race. The town of Kona was not at all impressive. It's like a bad touristy Jersey beach town. No thanks!
Anyhooo... So Loren and I did have a great 6 mile run with the sun coming up and yes, I was in shorts. That part was great.
Later that day, one of the BQ Babes, Wes, who lives on Oahu, flew over to spend the day with us. That was awesome! Thanks for coming over Wes.
We spent that night camping on the beach which is a great thing about HI. There are tons on campgrounds on the beach and they're super cheap.
The next morning, we got up just before sunrise to start our trek up Muana Kea , the high point of HI and the biggest mountain in the world. At 13796' feet, we had a long day ahead of us. We stared with our feet in the ocean than drove to the Visitor's center at about 9000' where we would hike to the top. The hike is about 6 miles and gains over 4500'. Not an easy day, esp. since we've been at sea level and weren't acclimated to any kind of elevation.
It was a tough hike. It was steep, lots of lava rocks, and a snow field. It took us over 4 hours to get to the top. The nice thing, however, is people drive up in jeeps and other 4 wheel drive vehicles and from time to time you'll see a rogue rental car though I would not want to take the chance on the road leading up to the top.
Once we hit the summit, we decided we'd try to hitch a ride back down. Hitching is fairly common in HI, though it's not fairly common in the mind of american tourists. The first 2 cars drive by and just waved at us, sort as they had done when the passed us on the road in the last mile of the hike. Then a jeep pulled over. And driving said jeep: a German tourist. I have a theory which has proven to be true for both Loren and I. No matter where you are in the world, you will run into a German tourist. We shared this with our kind driver which he found surprising. Loren and I refer to ourselves as German tourist who happen to be american since we seem to share the same love of travel.
Once we got back to our car, we headed over to Hilo where we found a rather interesting place to stay for the night and my friend Sam from my Esalen days joined us for a sushi pig out. I was pooped from the hike.
The next morning, we again woke up early and did a recovery run. Later in the day, we headed to Volcano national park where we would spend the next few days backing packing to back country beaches.
It was some awesome hiking through some interesting conditions to some very remote beaches. We hiked 18 miles in the 2.5 days we were out there. It was great. I want to turn 40 every year.
So while I was short on the running, I did hike 24 miles, that has to count for something.
For pictures of our trip, check out here and here.

Once we returned to NY, i got back on track (mostly). I had a really good tempo run this year and an awesome 15 miler yesterday, so I'm not too worried about my 11 mile week.


Girl In Motion said...

Nice post! Sounds like a seriously great trip, the photos are amazing. Now it's on to that running thang you do so well, enjoy the next few weeks before Boston!

L.A. Runner said...

I loved your pictures from the trip! It won't be long before Boston! :)