Over Labor Day weekend, Karlee and I flew over to run the Kauai Half Marathon. So fun! I’d highly recommend this race to anyone looking to build a little vacation around an active event because Kauai is BEAUTIFUL. (I’ll be sharing more about the rest of the trip over on my Shoyu Sugar blog, so follow along there if you’re interested!)
The race itself is really well organized! We did our packet pickup out at the Grand Hyatt Poipu and shopped around the event merchandise. I rarely buy stuff at expos anymore, but couldn’t resist a tank with a chicken on it – the unofficial mascot of the race since Kauai has so many wild chickens!
Race day started out under a gorgeous almost-full moon, the air was a little chilly and clouds hovered in the distance. At the start line, runners were treated to fruit, bagels, water, and coffee! Definitely one of the most organized start lines ever.
As you line up in the start corral, the race begins with a line of conch shells blowing on the sidelines. It was a breathtaking way to start and made it really special. Karlee and I split up very early on and I made up my mind to just enjoy the course and take my time.
Around mile 4 it started raining, then pouring. As my shoes filled with water I couldn’t help but laugh. What else can you do? I saw others around me doing the same thing as we made the best of it and continued the uphill climb.
At mile 6, I stopped to snap a photo. By this point, you’ve been going uphill for 5 miles and you’ve entered the Tunnel of Trees, planted in 1911. It’s amazing to be surrounded by these 101 year old trees that continue up for almost a mile!
Next, we turned on the highway and looped back down through the tiny town of Koloa. I loved seeing residents out on their lawn chairs, cheering us on along the course. I did not, however, see any of the famous chickens.
When I started down the finishers chute, I thought I was delirious as a glimpsed the race clock. I hadn’t worn a watch and there were no clocks along the mile markers so I had no idea what pace I was keeping, and I knew I felt good but the time on the clock was a complete shock! It read 2:32 when I crossed and I immediately called my dad to check online for my chip time, which was 2:31, making this my fastest half marathon yet.
I had told Karlee I’d meet her at the finish line somewhere before 3 hrs so she was over by the beer garden (yes, BEER garden!), not expecting me for at least another 20 minutes or so… What a great way to end the race, with a PR!
I loved this race, and not just for the beer and potato chips at the finish (these people know the way to my heart!) but for the beauty of the course and the graciousness of the people. Staying a couple of extra days on Kauai was a no-brainer, and the perfect reward for finishing strong.
As of today, I’ve got about two and a half months to the Honolulu Marathon, so we’ll see if I can keep up the good timing! I’m also currently at $825 so there’s still a ways to go towards my goal of raising $2620 ($100 per mile) for the Leukemia Society.
If you’d like help by making a donation, please visit: http://tinyurl.com/malia-TNT2012.