Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Race Report: Kauai Half Marathon

After seeing Dean Karnazes at the San Francisco Marathon I was playing around on the internet and just decided to look up what other organized races he runs during the year.  I saw he would be at the Kauai marathon and then saw that the Kauai marathon just happened to be during the weekend we were going to be there - finishing at our hotel nonetheless.  Of course you know what that means, I was going to have to do this race! 

After 4 days of exploring the island, relaxing by the pool and enjoying fruity cocktails it hit me I was going to run a half marathon the next day.

This is how you prep for a race.
We missed the expo since we had been out on an excursion all day but luckily you could still pick up your packets until 10:00 at night.  I thought that was really generous.

I should note we could literally see the finish line from our hotel room and the start was a mere half a mile walk.  I don't think I could have planned that if I tried.  I have never been so close to the start/finish of a race before.

The race started early - 6:00 am - which I was actually really happy about.  So far we had been graced with good weather BUT an early start meant the chances of hot sticky weather were reduced.  Also, this meant we would finish early which would allow more time to get back to the beach.


Given the proximity to the start I set my alarm for 4:30 am.  This would allow a half hour to wake up, 10 minutes to walk to the start and still plenty of time to hit the portapotties one last time.

It was already a little humid when we left the hotel room so I was extra happy we were getting an early start.    On our walk to the start there was a volunteer about every 25 feet with a flashlight lighting the way.  This was just the beginning of the awesome volunteers they had lining the course.

The race started in Poipu Village Shopping Center.  They had a ton of food out for the racers and most importantly free coffee!!

It was a good thing we got there early since the portapotty lines were long but we made it with ten minutes to spare to get to the starting line.

There was a small prayer and the singing of the national anthem and then we were off!

The course started by the coast, looped inland and then headed back out to the coast.

As with most races the first mile flew by due to all the race excitement but when I looked at my watch and saw 10:32 for my mile split I was a little surprised.  Mile 2 came in at 10:20.  I realized while gradual, we had been going uphill the entire time.  I had looked at the course online and we had actually driven the majority of it before hand but I never realized this course was going to have some elevation to it.

There was a lot of great crowd support along the course.  Little girls doing hula, good music, and of course beautiful views.

And storm clouds.  Just before mile 4 the sky opened up and just dumped rain - for almost two miles.  And you know what?  I loved it!  It was a warm rain and yet surprisingly actually took the humidity out of the air.

When we first arrived on the island and were driving to our hotel we drove through this beautiful tree tunnel which we found out was actually called, "the Tunnel of Trees."  When I saw we got to run through it I was really excited.  I had tried so many times to get a picture driving through it but cars always got in the way.  However, I did mind if runners were in the way.

The tunnel of trees last for about a mile (miles 5 to a little over 6) and was definitely one of my favorite spots on the course.

After the tunnel of the trees we turned left and started heading back towards the coast.  Around mile 7.5 we started going downhill and I just remember it one, being such a relief on my legs, and two, hoping it lasted for a really long time.  And it did!  It was literally down hill from mile 7.5 to 11.

Meanwhile the crowd support was still fantastic.  I was so surprised to see so many people out cheering.  It should also be noted the aid stations were very well stocked.  Lots of volunteers at each one so there was no little to no bunching of runners.  All the drinks were nice and cold and you could even get ice!  Besides Rev3 this year I can't remember a running race where you could get ice.

At mile 11 the full marathoners split and went to the right and the half marathoners went to left.  To the right was a huge hill and I saw a few marathoners take a look at that hill and go left. :)

There was a small hill on the left too but once you crested the hill the ocean was waiting.

2.1 beautiful coastal miles later and I crossed the finish line! 

13.1 miles
10:11 min/mile avg.

As I waited for Kevin to finish (poor guy got stuck in a 10 minute porta potty line around mile 8) I saw the first marathoner finish.  He holds the course record and missed beating record by less than 40 seconds, BUT still finished in 2:23:52.  Amazing!

I also saw Bart Yasso.

Then Kevin crossed!

We made our way over to the finishers area were they had quite the spread of food, free coffee and free beer and took it up to our room to enjoy and relax on the balcony and watch the finishers.  2 minute walk back to the hotel room for the win!

Around mile 7 my IT band had really started to act up which translated into a lot of stretching and icing back into the room.  It was a good thing lots of lounging by the pool and on the beach were on the agenda for the day.

When it came time to check the results later on in the day mine were nowhere to be found online.  I had my Garmin time and knew I didn't break any records but I still wanted to see my time.  It wasn't until we were packing to leave I realized why I didn't have an official time . . .

I put the instruction part of the chip on my shoe instead of the actual chip!  What a dummy!  I guess that is what I get for putting it on my shoes in the dark at 4:30 in the morning.

I also think it is worth mentioning that while we were hiking the next morning I did see Dean - running of course.

Overall it was a beautiful course with awesome support and I am so happy for whatever made me decide to look up Dean's appearance schedule.  I would have been so disappointed if we had shown up, saw there was a race and had missed the opportunity to register.  Its not every day you can do a race in Hawaii. 

Hillier than expected!

Now I want to go back to the beach.

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  1. LOVE this, you had no choice but to run it if it was so close!!! What a lovely run, I really fancy doing that one now!!! I particularly liked your pre-run hydrating....fruity cocktails for the win ;)

  2. I loved reading this! I've heard some about the race but never looked into it. I've run Honolulu which was terrible so when people ask what Hawaii race they should run I always say not that one. This one looks much prettier than Honolulu if not a bit hillier :)


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