When I knew we were going to Maui this year, the first thing I did was look for a race that I could run while there...that's right, running popped into my head before the beach. Officially bit by the running bug, I am. I found the Day of Hope 5K/10K, which was a benefit run for the American Cancer Society of Maui and the Pacific Cancer Foundation. So last Saturday, November 6th, I ran a race in Hawaii! I'll let the pictures tell most of the story:
Friday night's dinner - I carb loaded with linguine pesto and some grilled garlic cheese bread (not pictured). So tasty! This was at the Penne Pasta Cafe in Lahaina - I totally recommend it. We parked the White Whale, our Dodge Caravan rental, in front of the restaurant, and when we came out, found this note on the windshield:
We thought it was nice that Steve left a note, even if his spelling left a little to be desired. No worries; Jeff was able to pop the driver's side mirror back into the case. Hmmm, maybe I should have called Steve to tell him it was all good. Ah well.
Race day dawned dark and early - my alarm went off at the ridiculous time of 4:45 am. The race was being held in the town of Wailea, which was about an hour's drive south of where we were staying, and as I hadn't picked up my registration packet, plus the whole "not entirely sure where we were headed" thing, we gave ourselves plenty of time to sort everything out. We found the Four Seasons resort, where the registration was supposed to be, but somehow missed seeing that particular area. We ended up parking in the free two-hour parking garage at the Four Seasons (which turned into more like 3.5 hours of free parking, thank you for not towing us Four Seasons!) and wandered through the very posh, very impressive lobby and pool area until we found all the runners - how we missed that spot, and the huge parking lot, is beyond me. Good thing we gave ourselves plenty of time, right? Anyway, I picked up my packet, which came with a t-shirt and a cool bag. Got myself bibbed up and I was ready!
Now, the one thing about Wailea that I didn't know is that it is in a very hilly part of the island. I got a little nervous when we hiked UP a hill to the start of the race:
Here is the starting line. Note how we immediately run uphill...
You would think that for every UPhill, there would be a DOWNhill, but I swear, this race felt like mostly uphill. It was fun running with the 5Kers for the first 1.5 miles, until they got to turn around and run back toward the finish line. At that moment, I deeply regretted not signing up for the shorter distance, lol! Naturally, 90% of the runners did the 5K, so after I passed their turn-around, I was pretty much on my own. I will say that this race had a ton of volunteers, mostly teenagers, at every mile marker, turn, water station (which were plentiful, thankfully, as it was HOT at 7:00 am!) (and yes, this is coming from a Texan) - so even though I wasn't surrounded by runners, the volunteers were cheering and clapping when I ran by and that made it fun. One kid heard a Glee song (Don't Stop Believing) that was playing on my iTouch speaker as I ran by and he serenaded me up (yet another) hill - very sweet!
I had to walk a lot of the hill portions - they were tough. But I figured I would make up for that time by running all out when I came to the downhill part. Well, the good news is that I didn't fall down, but I discovered that running all out pretty much winds you, which left me gasping for air on the few flat areas. D'oh!
The entire time I was running (ok, and walking), I remembered to look around and take in all of the beautiful scenery - it was such a gorgeous place to run. I could see Molokini, where Jeff and my brother had gone snorkeling the day before, and I ran by Keawala'i church, which was built in 1832 and made of coral, lava stone and wood (yes, I stopped to read the historic marker). So charming, and still in use today.
OK, back to the race...the last couple of miles were mostly uphill. It finally leveled off close to mile 6 - what a relief! Short-lived, as I turned a corner and found yet another hill - at mile 6! Geez! The last tenth of a mile (a 10K is 6.2 miles) was downhill. So naturally, I booked it. And, as the pictures will show, I even passed up another runner!OK, it was a lady pushing a stroller. And she wasn't wearing a race bib. She *might* have just been out for a morning walk. And probably didn't even know that I was racing her. But I beat her...I entertain myself, yes I do!
Finally finished! I forgot to stop Ricky Bobby but near as I can tell, my time was around 1:15. Not too bad considering all of the hills. Did I mention that it was hot there? The race organizers are to be commended, because they had a mist shower set up just beyond the finish line - and it felt GREAT! They also handed out cold washcloths - much appreciated!
After my little shower, we walked downhill (thankfully!) to a patio area of the Four Seasons, where I was met by a waiter offering a tray of bottled beverages - fancy! The woman in the picture below thanked me for running and gave me a high five. This entire event was so different in that the organizers and volunteers were thanking the runners at every turn - it was really nice, and made me feel like I had done more than just run a race - I had contributed (via my entry fee AND my presence) to supporting cancer research. And having just passed the fourth year anniversary of my grandmother's death due to pancreatic cancer, I am all for finding a cure for this terrible disease.Now this is kind of funny, and it must be a Hawaiian term, but before the race, the organizers invited everyone to stick around for the "pancake breakfast." Great - I haven't had pancakes in forever, but after a race I give myself permission to eat whatever I want. So we headed to the food area, in anticipation of getting some yummy pancakes.
I'm smiling because I'm anticipating the pancakes, *not* because of the shirtless young man next to me...
Do you see any pancakes? Me neither. It's not that they were out - there never were any pancakes. I guess "pancake breakfast" is Hawaiian for "group breakfast"? Too funny. BTW, those plates were for Jeff and I to share, although I will admit to eating all four of the powdered sugar donettes. And possibly sending Jeff back for a few more. Hey, I just ran 6.2 miles!
OK, this just about made up for the lack of pancakes - a waiter was walking around with Popsicles on a silver tray, handing them out. BEST.RACE TREAT. EVER.
A local television newscaster was the emcee for the awards - a 13-year-old girl won the 10K for the women and a 16-year-old boy won for the men - ahhh, youth. There were a lot of teams who ran the 5K - they had to stay tethered together the entire race. This group was the first-place finishers in that category - love that their tether was tinselly garland:
After the awards, they called anyone to the stage who wanted to donate their hair to Locks of Love. See the girl on the far right - the one with hair hanging below her behind? She hadn't planned on donating, but was really moved by the stories and came on stage - very brave for a 12-year-old.
And finally, this is me and Howard Dashefsky. He was the emcee and was great - very funny. He even had us play Rock, Paper, Scissors (only he called it Jan Ken Po) for a gift certificate to a massage at the Four Seasons. Darn it, I lost. But I got my picture taken with him!
All in all, this was a really fun event, at a beautiful resort, in Maui. I'm glad I was able to participate in it!